14 August 2020, originally posted here
On 14 August, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will publish The Light of Peace: Churches in Solidarity with the Korean Peninsula, a collection of resources WCC member churches can use to recognize 70 years of unresolved conflict on the Korean Peninsula during 2020.
The National Council of Churches in Korea convened the historic launch of a People's Peace Agreement for Korea as a "first step to ending the war.”
Story by Anne Casparsson re-posted from World Council of Churches
A Declaration for the People’s Korea Peace Agreement was launched on 23 July at a global Zoom convention initiated by the National Council of Churches in Korea, along with civil organizations.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Matt. 13:31-33, 44-52
Prayers for Korea:
Father and Holy Spirit,
Your power and love are beyond reckoning.
In such a time when fear grips humanity, we seek the comfort that only You can provide; so that we may endure our difficulties and stand with our siblings.
In the blessed name of the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray, Amen.Read more
This prayer was written for the inaugural worship of the Korean Christian Network for a Nuclear-Free World, also known as the Korean Network for a World Free of Nuclear Power and Weapons, on March 1, 2012, to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the 1919 Independence Movement against Japanese occupation and the first anniversary of Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster at once. The original Korean version was translated into English by Ms. Maryon Kim, and modified by the author.
God of freedom and liberation!
Facing the 93rd anniversary of the 1919 Independence Movement,
we remember our ancestors,
who believed in the God of the Exodus and courageously rose up toward a future of life.
With the sincere faith of conscience, and the hope of a joyful life for future generations,
they declared this nation's right to life, freedom and independence,
and they prayed for true peace in Northeast Asia and the world.
But now at the start of the 21st century
we witness, with worried and fearful hearts,
that this beautiful peninsula is covered by the dark cloud of nuclear weapons and power plants.
In this land where Rachel's lamenting over historical pains has not ceased,
and where the scars of suffering and wrongful death have not healed,
once again we see the shadow of death hanging over us.
On the current world historical stage,
North Korea has chosen nuclear weapons and South Korea has clung to nuclear energy.
The Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia
have become the world's most dangerous nuclear minefield,
surrounded by nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.
O God, hear our prayers of lament and repentance!
We lament the foolishness of humanity,
which despite the experience of two world wars in the 20th century,
is still caught in the vicious cycle of increasing wars and weaponry.
We repent that human greed and selfishness has led us
to pour astronomical amounts of money and resources into the arms race,
even as countless children are starving to death in our global village.
Awaken us to realize
that our true security lies not in nuclear weapons
but in trusting you and respecting our neighbors.
O God, who watches the empires rise and fall!
Grant wisdom to our governments and corporations,
that they may turn away from their worship of the idol of unlimited economic growth,
which makes the strong prey on the weak.
May they instead choose the way of cosmic truth:
the life of conviviality with all living beings, humans and nature.
As we confess and repent of our sins of greed and consumerism in pursuit of nuclear power, grant us humble hearts and simple lives.
Awaken us to know
that true wealth is found not in the accumulation of material goods
but in a creative, sharing life.
May we learn that nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are not compatible with peace.
Lead us to be free from nuclear preoccupation.
Awaken us to know that our true strength is not in nuclear power but in love and justice.
O God, hear our prayers!
Grant us the courage to go through the narrow gate that leads to life,
not the wide gate that leads to destruction (Mt 7:13-14).
May we leave to our children not a painful and terrible heritage, but a life that uses natural energy from your created sun, wind and water.
O God, lead us Korean Christians
not to export nuclear power plants, an act that is contrary to your command of justice and love, but to live as your apostles of peace, teaching your life and peace.
Remembering that on the cross our Lord shared the suffering of the nuclear radiation victims,
and hoping that a new heaven and new earth of life and peace may be realized
from Mount Halla in the south to Mount Paekdu in the north,
throughout Northeast Asia and all the earth,
we pray in the name of Christ Jesus.
Rev. Dr. Hyunju Bae, Presbyterian Church of Korea, Central Committee member of the WCC
*Update: On July 23, 2020 the National Council of Churches in Korea convened partners and civil society groups for the historic Declaration for the People’s Korea Peace Agreement
Churches throughout the world are calling for a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War that started 70 years ago today.
News story re-posted from World Council of Churches
22 June 2020
A new World Council of Churches (WCC) publication, “The Light of Peace – The Churches and the Korean Peninsula,” is offering WCC member churches resources for understanding and reflecting on 70 years of unresolved conflict on the Korean Peninsula during this anniversary year, 2020.Read more
Story re-posted from World Council of Churches
A Joint Ecumenical Peace Message for the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War was publicly delivered on 22 June during a live-streamed event. Co-sponsored by churches and councils of churches around the world, especially from countries that participated in the Korean War, the message describes the Korean War as an “appallingly destructive conflict” after which no peace treaty was ever concluded.Read more
During the COVID-19 crisis, the church serves the spiritual and social needs of people afflicted by the pandemic which is gripping the world, and its key role was highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO).Read more
Thomas Smith is serving in Korea which is categorized as a Level 3 country dealing with the COVID 19 virus. Global Ministries has been in regular contact with both Thomas and the partner and received this note about his well-being:
As you must be already following the news, the COVID 19-situation in Korea is getting serious. There are numerous actions taken and many international gatherings cancelled or postponed in Korea.
Thomas, who is doing his volunteer work in Haenam (Haenam Yanmuri Church), in the field of English Ministry, is adapting and enjoying his work! Haenam, is noted as one of the ‘clean zones’ of South Korea without any positive diagnosis on COVID 19. Last weekend, our whole department went to Haenam in order to show our support to the congregation and especially to Thomas. We all shared the impression that he was ‘in his element’!
Churches worldwide are invited to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula from 1 March to 15 August. During the "Light of Peace" campaign 70 prayers and stories will correspond with a commemoration of 70 years since the Korean War in 2020. In cooperation with the National Council of Churches in Korea, prayers will be published online each week.
A Prayer of Confession for our Divided World
(Light of Peace Prayer #33)
God, Creator of all lands we inhabit and souls we meet,
You beckon us to know in our hearts that if we do live and move and have our being in you,
Then we are wholly yours, and you, God of all, are fully present,
And that there is no division in your divine love.
Yet we confess to you that too often we forget this Holy truth.
Too often, although we all share in your divine presence, we are preoccupied by self.
We incline toward our own devices. We draw sharp lines and build tall walls.
We turn toward those we perceive to be like us, and against those we claim are not.
From America we confess the ways our nation stacks the global deck with such cruel distinctions as in and out, with us or against us.
Enamored of our destiny, we inscribe in our polemics and histories myths of inherent right. Our leaders cast seeds of suspicion and rumors of war from behind palisades of privilege.
Forgive us, Gracious God.
May we use this time of social transformation as a Sabbath from our many separations.
May we turn to you, reminded again of your vision for unity in our fractured world.
Where we have sown fear, show us how to reap understanding.
Where we have become estranged from your creation, help us walk humbly on the earth.
Where we have chosen war over peace and invested in systems of death over life, may we be agents of reconciliation in divided lands.
After more than 70 years may the Korean people especially be reunited, we pray.
God of Hope, inspire us during this time of crisis.
May we, like the yearning mother who petitioned King Solomon
Proclaim there’s greater wisdom in a love that
Refuses to allow our children to be divided.
Thank you, Comforting God, that we belong to you and that we share the wholeness of your creation.
When our human factions have worn thin, and the connections we may have once clung to no longer hold meaning, may we be assured in knowing that we can abide in you and in your love.
Bless us in our renewed yearning for each other and for your embrace.
In the name of Christ who reconciles us to you, we pray this prayer of confession. Amen.
Derek Duncan, Area Executive