“In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself…
and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”
2 Corinthians 5:19
The sixth annual Christian Forum for Reconciliation in Northeast Asia was held on 27th May – 1st June in Jeju Island, South Korea. The Forum brought together about 90 Christian leaders - scholars, educators, journalists, practitioners, pastors, and church and parachurch leaders - from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the U.S. and Canada. Four RSCJ participated in this forum: Choi Hae Young, Kim Young Ae, and Mary Zhou from the KOC Province, and Yukiko Aoki from Japan.
Over five days, forum participants explored a Scriptural vision of peace and reconciliation, went on pilgrimage into the Jeju context, lamented and bore witness to hope, recognized the contextual challenges of a ministry of reconciliation in Northeast Asia, and sought new places for collaboration and partnership.
The forum is the core programme of the Northeast Asia Reconciliation Initiative (NARI), which was founded in 2012. NARI is grounded in mutually transformative relationships between the following partner organisations: the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation, the Mennonite Central Committee, and institutions and leaders in Northeast Asia. Our sister Choi Hae Young is one of the members of this council that promotes ecumenical collaboration.
The following prayer, shared and recited during the forum, expresses our hopes and desires towards our common mission, in spite of the current conflicts, divisions, and historical wounds that confront us in this region.
Prophets of a Future Not Our Own
A prayer written by Bishop Ken Untener, and attributed to Saint Oscar Romero of El Salvador
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Yukiko Aoki rscj