I constantly ask this question three years into this journey of seeking to build a new community between strangers amidst the conflicts in Northeast Asia. Reflecting back on the 2015 Nagasaki Forum, what answer do I provide?
I heard a Chinese peace practitioner say she has been involved in trauma healing for many years. But until the Forum she had never learned the biblical gift and language of lament. Here I see Christ, the one who also lamented, who cried out “My God, why has Thou forsaken me?”
I listened to a young activist say that she had become heavily involved in social justice protests in Korea, but until the Forum, didn’t know there was a biblical basis for it. Here I see Christ, restoring hope in the ministry of the church to one of his precious daughters.
During a moving pilgrimage of pain and hope, one participant said, “We lamented at the layers of pain experienced by the violence of war and the many unseen and nameless victims of who suffered in the name of nationalism.” It is no small thing to move from competing national narratives in China, Korea, and Japan to lament as “we.” Here I see Christ, for Christ’s work of reconciliation enlarges who “our people” are, who our “we” is—expanding our “we” to those who were once strangers and enemies.
I watched as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean participants shed tears together in a museum memorializing atrocities committed by Japanese military. I overheard a Korean say to a Japanese, “we must work together and never allow this to happen again!” Here I see Christ as well, forging a new community committing to work for a new future together.
In all this I see good seed, seeds of a new future being planted, of Christ’s new creation interrupting the currents of injustice and bitterness.