One of the most striking images for this time of the year comes from the noted Korean diasporic theologian, Jung Young Lee. At one point in his Marginality: A Key to Multicultural Theology (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press) he refers to the coming of Jesus-Christ into the world as the ‘divine emigrant’. It is a message which might not immediately come to mind because, in recent times, our denominational focus has been on the first three gospels and a message of social justice.
This image of the divine emigrant is an image which suggests itself through a reading of the prologue of John’s gospel (1:1-18). For Jung Young Lee this migration of the Word (made flesh) into ‘the world’ is a journey into divine marginalization. In a way that is not often seen in reflections on Jesus Lee talks about the ‘loneliness’ of the hyphenated Christ. It raises the rather intriguing prospect of how we might be able to read the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of his being a diasporic being who is a ‘migrant’—as well as a ‘son for the return home’ (to borrow an idea from the Samoan writer, Albert Wendt).