Rodong Sinmun is North Korea’s propaganda headquarters. On a daily basis there is a stream of strange-sounding information, or mis-information, emanating thence. Recently I picked up there another entry in the large collection of Kimmian mythology. This one is about the annual birthday celebration of the [deceased] grandmother of North Korea’s present leader, i.e., Kim Il Sung’s mom. Fascinating North Korea speak.

The writer introduces this maternal figure not as a mother or grandmother, not as someone’s wife or descendant. No, Kang Pan Sok is “an indomitable revolutionary fighter and an outstanding leader of the Korean women’s emancipation movement…” Doesn’t it warm your heart? Wouldn’t you love to be snuggled close to this cuddly mommy if you needed some solace?

Once upon a time, when this mom was very critically ill, soldier son Kim Il Sung, forever battling the pesky Japanese, took a break in his endeavors to buy some foxtail millet and bring it to her, as it has certain medicinal value. She was touched inside, but would not allow her son even to mention her sickness. Instead she wanted to talk about political topics. Japan. The struggle. The revolution.

At least, that’s how the story goes.

In response to his spending the night, gathering firewood and such, Mom said, thanks for being a good son, but you really need to get back to the great cause of Korea. She gave him some seriously-hard-earned coins, and sent him on his way.

The story ends as it begins. The author indicates that what the mother had shown was not “simply motherly love. It was true revolutionary affection…”

Our hearts ache over a people who have sold out natural affection for military-political ideals. We hurt for those who honor nation above family, society above the individual soul. We pray for those who give their lives away to start a revolution and have never heard of the revolution Christ began here centuries ago. And we grow weary of hearing stories like these being told as historical fact.

Yet, there is something about this story, even this perversion of NK history, that is worth taking away and contemplating. No less than the Christ Himself has called us to a comparable life, has He not? Did He not say that those who follow Him are to love Him more than mother, father, brother, sister? Did He not call us to lay down our very lives for the sake of promoting the Gospel Revolution that He ignited?

So, on second sight, we do not necessarily disown every feature of the dismal lifestyle of the North Korean, but rather we object to the target of Korean affection. We desire for One worthy of all this pain and suffering to be honored in this way, One Worthy of the daily sacrifice, One who will richly repay, not with more restrictions and more poverty, and more famine and death, and international shame, but with everlasting life, with joy unspeakable and full of glory, with the unabashed delight of sins forgiven, all items that are not within the NK government’s power to offer.

Lord Jesus, we pray that Your message will permeate the darkness. Show us our part. Amen.

By the way, the real history of this revolutionary mother of North Korea indicates that she and her husband were faithful members of the local Presbyterian Church.

By Papa

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