Pray with Korea, July 23, 2023
Lectionary Selection: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Prayers for Korea
Sower of peace and righteousness, we give thanks that we share in the wholeness of your creation. Too often, we allow weeds of fear, suspicion, self-interest, and sin between us. Help us plant seeds of trust that will yield the fruit of peace and reconciliation in the world.
We pray for the people of South and North Korea as they seek ways to reconcile after 70 years of division rendered by the Korean War. We pray for all those who stand up for true human security in the face of militarization and political repression. We pray that through our partnerships with the National Council of Churches in Korea and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, we can seek the paths and practices that nurture trust and understanding where histories of violence and nationalism have marred relationships.
Forgive us when we neglect our role in living out the shalom that Jesus showed us. Accompany us in the important work of peace-building in Asia and throughout the world.
In the name of Christ who reconciles us to you, we pray.
Mission Moment from Korea
Seventy years ago, on July 27, 1953, leaders from both sides of the Korean War signed an Armistice Agreement, ending three years of fighting that claimed nearly 5 million lives, half of them civilian. The fighting ended that day, but the conflict was never officially resolved. The Korean Peninsula remains divided at the 38th parallel. The land and waters in the region are some of the most heavily armed and militarized in the world. A tense and hostile relationship between North Korea and South Korea and its allies, including the United States, endures to this day.
The conflict on the Korean Peninsula represents the most lasting expression of the Cold War. Our partners in South Korea, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) hold the issue of peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula as a priority in their advocacy and for their partners’ solidarity with them. In 2015 the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ passed resolutions “Call[ing] for Peace and Reunification in the Korean Peninsula.” These gave our churches a mandate to work with partners on Korean peace and reunification issues and to specifically advocate for the signing of a final peace treaty to formally end the Korean War.
As a strategy to revive long-stalled peace negotiations, international advocacy groups have appealed to the U.S. and the international community to focus on signing a final peace treaty that would formally end the Korean War and provide a context of mutual trust and common purpose between North and South Korea and their allies. In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice, the Korea Peace Appeal Campaign is a global campaign that seeks to gather 100 million signatures in support of a peace treaty. The NCCK has challenged the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ to gather 10,000 signatures this year as part of the campaign.
Church members who support peace have been invited to the Global Ministries website to sign the Korea Peace Appeal. This summer’s UCC General Synod and Disciples General Assembly also provide forums for participants to learn more about the issues and sign the appeal.
Another action called for in the 2015 resolutions that members of our churches are encouraged to do is participate in the ‘Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula,” which is held on the weekend before August 15th, Korea’s Liberation Day. Every year the National Council of Churches in Korea and the Korean Christian Federation, which represents churches in North Korea, issue a joint prayer for peace. Besides signing the Korea Peace Appeal, on this 70th Anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, supporters are especially encouraged this year to use the occasion to pray and raise awareness about the importance of peace and reconciliation in Korea and the region.
Mission Partners in Korea
- National Council of Churches in Korea
- Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
- Hanshin University