Pray with Korea, April 28, 2024

Pray with Korea, April 28, 2024

Lectionary Selection:  John 15:1-8

Prayers for Korea

Gracious God, we give thanks for our partners in Korea and their witness to unity and healing in a fractured world. We give thanks for the 50 years of commitment that the NCCK Human Rights Center has shown to discern and deliberate together what fruit you would have us bear in a world of suffering and division.

We pray your blessings on the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea and other ecumenical members of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK). We pray for the NCCK as it gathers representatives of its member churches and partner churches across Asia for the “Congress for Asian Human Rights Defenders” this month. May their witness of solidarity and discipleship be a testament to the unity possible as the Body of Christ.

Abide in us, God of assurance and promise. Help us, in turn, know how to abide in you as your faithful disciples.

In your name, we pray, Amen.

Mission Moment from Korea

What is the fruit of discipleship? If we are to bear the fruit of the true vine that is Jesus, then what does that fruit look like? For individuals, that answer takes discernment, and for Christian organizations, the answer may require an added layer of deliberation among the members of the group.

It can be challenging for an ecumenical organization to agree on a path of discipleship. Korea has a history of division. Most notably, the Korean War divided the Korean peninsula and people along the De-Militarized Zone. South Korea also has a history of dictatorship, which led to civil strife in the 1970s and lasting scars. Korea’s colonial legacy of Japanese occupation and later American patronage created patterns of sectarian distrust that still shape attitudes today.

Since South Korea also became a wealthy nation so rapidly, modern ideas often clash with strands of traditional culture. Strong currents of militarism, nationalism, commercialism, sexism, and homophobia all create social challenges. As a highly, if not diversely, Christian nation, the Korean church seeks to address these social challenges together, lest it be divided by the same currents.

The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) prioritizes the process of discernment and collective action to promote unity and healing among its members. For our partner, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), and other ecumenical members of the NCCK, facing these challenges has meant seeking unity in the body of Christ. Promoting human rights has been a guideline for cooperative discipleship among the churches. In 1974, when the dictatorship’s suppression of human rights reached its peak, the NCCK established the “Human Rights Committee” (now the NCCK Human Rights Center) and declared its commitment to pray and act together with marginalized people to defend human rights and establish justice in Korean society.

For the 50th anniversary of the NCCK Human Rights Center, it is joining with other ecumenical groups to host a “Congress for Asian Human Rights Defenders.” From April 21-25, 2024, Church representatives from across Asia will gather with other international supporters to discern and deliberate together what the fruit of shared discipleship looks like today and to proclaim the prophetic vision and hope of reconciliation in Korea and the world.

Mission Partners in Korea

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