Reflection November 10, 2019 Rev Sun-Young (Sunny) Kim
Micah 4:1-5/ Romans 8:31-39/ John 15:9-17
Peace, Justice, and Compassion
Are you familiar with Wonder Woman? I don’t read comic books much and I didn’t like the Wonder Woman TV series while growing up because even to my young eyes, Wonder Woman’s costume seemed like the exploitation of the female body. But two years ago, the movie version of Wonder Woman came out. Here’s today’s one fact about myself; I cried watching that movie, and now Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero. I’m not sure if you know this about Wonder Woman, but she is the daughter of the Amazon queen; so in the movie, we see a lot of Amazon warrior women training and fighting. Seeing strong and tough warrior women is of course awesome and empowering as a woman myself, as well as all the Wonder Woman’s battle scenes in World War I (yes, by the way, she goes to London during World War I in this movie); but what was really touching was why she was fighting. As an Amazon, she believes that it is her (and their) sacred duty to defend the world and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. In London and in the battle fields, she sees injured people or a bombed village and her heart breaks. The most awesome and touching scene was when her human partners insist that they cannot cross the No Man’s Land to get to the suffering village. She defiantly steps in and crosses the No Man’s Land, in slow motion for dramatic effect, and deflects whatever the Germans shoot at her with her wrist bands and shield. With her deflecting all bullets and whatever else, her partners can cross the No Man’s Land to go help the village. Wonder Woman fights because of her compassion towards suffering people. Compassion motivates her to fight. Wonder Woman teaches us that peace is not possible without justice for the suffering people, and that the effort for justice is based on compassion.
Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Today, let us explore two questions; first, what should we remember, and second, how should we remember them. What are we remembering? We remember the horrors of the wars and say, “Never again” and those who fought against evil. I am not only talking about the veterans who fought in the battle fields; for example, there were brave and compassionate people who risked their lives to save Jewish people from the Nazis. Some of them got caught, tortured, and killed because they refused to give up the list of the children they were hiding. We should remember all those brave people who fought, either in the battle fields or behind closed doors. We should also remember what horrors we experienced through wars. My parents were children when the Korean War happened. They remember the fear as they evacuated to the south. My parents were lucky, but a lot of families got separated, never to see each other again. War is terrible and traumatic; we should remember this. Now, how should we remember them? Short answer is that we should keep fighting for peace and justice in our world. Let us elaborate.
We read about God’s vision of peace in the Book of Micah. In God’s vision, weapons are turned into farming tools. Weapons cause suffering and death, but farming tools give life by producing food. God’s vision for peace is about saving lives instead of harming them in any way. God wants peace and justice for all God’s people because of love. In the Book of Romans, we heard Apostle Paul’s heartfelt words about the love that binds God and us; “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” From Romans, we learn about the love between God and us, but in the Gospel of John, we hear the quintessential Christian commandment that comes from the love of God; “Abide in my love,” says Jesus. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” How do we love one another? Jesus says the greatest love is laying one’s life for friends. So, here‘s the summary of God’s love; we should love one another because God loves us, and we should love one another to the point of making sacrifices for one another, not just dying for others.
We are celebrating Remembrance Day and reflecting on whom and what to remember and how to remember them. There have been major wars, which is why we celebrate Remembrance Day. There are those who fought and died. There are those who fought and survived but are suffering PTSD. One of my members in Kimberley United Church was a veteran; he is in his nineties and still can’t sleep at night because of the images of terror that hit him. We should think about how we should take care of our veterans. But also, in the context of peace effort, we should think about all suffering people of our world; refugees and asylum seekers, members of the marginalized groups who are constantly suffering discrimination and bigotry. Because peace is not possible without justice, we will never know true peace until we can beat all forms of hate and bigotry. In God’s vision of peace, killing tools turn into life-giving tools; then our vision for peace should be spreading tolerance and love instead of hate and bigotry. How should we remember our veterans and the horror of wars? By working towards a society full of love instead of hate. Since peace is not possible without justice, we should work towards a just society; this is how we should remember. Let this Remembrance Day reflections and the scripture readings be God’s call for us to embrace and welcome all God’s people and not to stay silent in the face of hate and injustice. Let us be filled with God’s compassion.