Korea: By What Means
October 27, 2006
Dr. Hycel B. Taylor,
Professor Emeritus, Garrett Theological Seminary (Methodist); Pastor, Christian Fellowship Church, Illinois
Reflections and Projections at the DMZ
"Not by might, nor power, but by my spirit says the Lord of Host."
In this speech I've decided to very briefly reflect upon a former time when we were here at the DMZ and project present and future possibilities, because what I shall propose transcends all rhetoric and rational analysis. I refer to a realm that I am reluctant to speak of because, given the current crisis, the suggested solution sounds unrealistic. But in reality it is the only and ultimate solution.
When I first spoke here at this damnable, desolate, and dreadful divide in the year 2000, as I looked across that dim distance I proposed a question especially to those of us who were African-Americans, but also to those from other nations, races, and religions.
It was a principled question that arrogant Western, ego-driven, political and religious leaders in their moralistic zeal too often fail to ask. The question was simply, "By what authority?" That is to say, by what authority do we, especially from America with all of its prejudices and its political and social problems, dare presume to offer counsel for peace to an Asian people or any other peoples on the planet? America, where my people, as we speak, still suffer from the ravages of racism -- who are disproportionately incarcerated by the millions, and who are dying daily from every disease imaginable.
The answer was, not by authority of America ís moral or military might, but by God's authority. Today, once again, by the providence of God I am here at another critical moment in history, when the threat of a worldwide nuclear holocaust looms like an ominous cloud over us, and when massive personal and national egos are conflicting and competing for power. I hear the Holy Spirit proposing to us another question which is even more sacred and sagacious than the question "By what authority?"
If we as so-called religious Ambassadors for Peace do not ask this question, we will show ourselves to be nothing more than powerless politicians cloaked in prophet's clothes and titles, and make our presence here a mockery of the living God. It is a familiar question.
We all know it, but it is not easy to seriously and sincerely ask it because we think we've already asked and answered it by our physical presence here under the title of Ambassador for Peace, and we have recited the words so often that they have become the rhetoric for rituals that flex and reflect our egos.
But that question is, "By what means?" By what means do we propose to avert a nuclear holocaust and to usher in the age of world peace? This question cannot be answered in an ego-driven process toward finding another positive political means. Rather, it can only be answered in a negative process of elimination of all human effort. The answer to the question is, "Not by might, nor power, but by my spirit says the Lord of hosts."
Let me paraphrase it a little different: "Not by our ego driven political force or the shock and awe of our military might, but by the yet untried and untested total surrender of our egos to the Holy Spirit who is in us."
I know that the idea of surrendering to the Holy Spirit sounds like reductionism and over-simplification, but what the world needs now as never before are Ambassadors for Peace who embody the living Presence of God. Some of us must undergo the rigorous spiritual discipline of eradicating our idolatrous egos until our very presence shall shake the foundations by the manifestation of the divine Presence in us.
When our warring egos - personal, national and religious - are supplanted by the awesome Presence of God who is alive in each of us, we become arsenals of the ultimate weapon against evil. Right now our weapons are hidden, even from ourselves, in the divisive dungeons of doctrine, dogma, denominationalism, and nationalism. We pose no threat to evil because we have nothing more to give than secular politicians.
Let us commit ourselves now, at this moment, before this deadly divide where we are unnaturally separated from each other, to live exemplary lives before the world. Let us be able to say, as did Peter and John when they encountered a beggar at the gate of Jerusalem asking for alms, "Silver and gold have we none, but such as we have we give unto you: Rise up and walk." Walk in joy, walk in love, walk in peace.