For Kim Ji-Ha, a Korean activist:
Rice is heaven, 밥이 하늘입니다
Because heaven cannot be possessed by one
Rice must be shared with each other.
Rice is heaven.
Just as together we view the stars in Heaven,
Rice must be shared by all.
When rice is eaten
Heaven enters the body.
Rice is heaven.
Ah-ah! Rice must be shared!
For more than half of humanity in the world, rice is life.
Therefore in unison of heart, we exclaim:
You are life.
Life is God,
the God who is abundant life (Jn 10:10)
Rice is life.
Life “is” God, God “is” rice,
the God who shares Godself as rice is shared,
bringing forth first creation, indwelling this creation,
as a lifegiving Rice-God.
Rice, analogous to God,
the God of kenosis, self-emptied,
yet filled, full of love, energy, moan-electrons-tau,Sophia,Rûah.
One, interconnected with cosmos, earth, everything, everyone created.
For East Asian people,
Rice is an embodiment of peace,
Rice is peace, consumed, embodied.
Rice is life, life of peace, inside, outside,
Peace on earth, in the cosmos,
Peace in God.
God, semblance of rice,
eaten as body and blood,
in communion, becoming,
people living (和) together equally (平),
favors Kin-dom, transmodern sacred spaces,
for spontaneous cultural interchanges,
greater mutual knowledge,
diverse, plural processes of integration of peoples (LD §38).
Rice, shared, elicits family-bondedness, shared-communion,
belonging-togetherness, in community,
fraternal synodality as disciples, with all faith believers, all sojourners,
akin to the one-God, triune in communion,
when othered, caused creation to be,
the God who is Rûah (Jn 4:24), indwelling creation,
omnipresent, in everything, everyone,
all have life in God, with God.
Rice, stable food of Asians,
emboldens hearts in our cry for R.I.C.E:
Arise in Resilience!
Arise my beloved people!
Arise from your slumber as marginal beggars,
vulnerable victims of glocal repressive systemic injustices.
Arise, God’s beloved!
Claim dignity as your people’s inherent right.
Arise, show up, and act now as a dignified people of God!!
At all times, always remember:
Creation, gender, intergenerational justice is your non-negotiable birth right.
Love is the drive of your revolution of selfless service,
Solidarity is your collective strength.
Resilience is your eternal legacy.
Strive together as an awakened people.
Live and die as rightful owners of your ancestral homelands.
For I, your God, acclaim you as the
protagonists of a safe church,
enjoying holistic relationality,
with a sustainable future for all.
Know that I am Emmanuel (Mt 1:23),
For I am with you always in your struggle,
Always in your midst
as a power-filled Spirit of resilience
now and forever.
Rice “is” God,
like rice-grains, planted, dehusked, boiled,
poured out to capacitate the excluded, marginal, vulnerable,
nailed to the wood, body drained of blood, breathed his last, died,
morphed, an arisen Spirit, united with Creator-Sustaining-Sacred Rûah,
spirit power to all lifegiving ancestral and nature spirits,
sacred sustenance of cosmos, earth, all lifeforms.
Rice, crushed, consumed, capacitates hearts,
with passion for bold cultural revolution,
resisting/revolting, from the margin,
all forms of neocolonialism,
unipolar domination, hegemony,
widening decolonial, interstitial spaces,
sensitive to all vulnerable, less powerful (LD §39),
pressuring the sources of power,
for multiculturalism from below (LD §38),
promoting an emerging multipolar world (LD §42).
Fr. Jojo M. Fung S.J. is a board member of Sacred Springs: Dialogue Institute of Spirituality and Sustainability and a member of Laudato Si’ Asia-Coalition of Culture of Care, Resilience and Ecological Justice (LASIA-CAREJ) in partnership with Asian Sacred Wisdom (ASW). He is an associate professor of systematic theology at the Loyola School of Theology, Manila.