Korea has a significant Christian population. The Catholic Church in Korea owes its origins to the work of lay Koreans. Today is the anniversary of the birth of one Korean Catholic activist and the anniversary of the death of a Koran Quaker activist.
Kim Chi Ha, Korean Catholic writer and activist born on February 4, 1941. He was imprisoned several times because of his denouncements of in justice and torture. In one of his plays, The Gold-Crowned Jesus, he has this dialogue between a leper and Jesus:
“LEPER: What can be done to free you, Jesus, make you alive again so that you can come to us?
“JESUS: My power alone is not enough. People like you must help to liberate me. Those who seek only the comforts, wealth, honor, and power of this world, who wish entry to the kingdom of heaven for themselves only and ignore the poor and less fortunate, cannot give me life again. . . . Only those, though very poor and suffering like yourself, who are generous in spirit and seek to help the poor and the wretched can give me life again. You removed the gold crown from my head and so freed my lips to speak. People like you will be my liberators.”
On February 4, 1988, Ham Sok Han, “Teacher Han,” a Korean Quaker activist, died. He once wrote:
“I believe in God. We should not be pessimistic. One of the great truths is that of desire and hope. We must cherish unconditionally an optimistic future. Intellectually, I don’t know what the world will be like in the future but I have tried through my faith to follow the right road and the righteous way. When we climb the mountain, we at times must descend in order to be able to climb the next mountain. Our problem is, how do we establish a strong and abiding faith in God.”
These two witnesses challenge us to grow in faith and in living out this faith in action with the poor and the oppressed. May their witness help us to be better followers of Christ.