Light of Peace: Jubilee prayer campaign to end 70-year Korean War
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
Worldwide prayer campaign to end 70-year Korean War
News story re-posted from World Council of Churches
A war erupted on the Korean Peninsula 70 years ago that divided Korea and that has yet to end. So, the world’s churches have launched a “70 Days of Prayers – Global Prayer Campaign” for peace.
A global prayer campaign for peace on the Korean Peninsula was announced via live streaming on 6 February at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, with similar events the same day in Washington, DC, and earlier in the day in Seoul.
“This year, 2020, marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Seventy years! Koreans in the North and South have lived in pain and hatred for a long time,” WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said in a message at the Geneva launch of the prayer campaign.
“During this period of prayer, churches around the world will hear the heartbreaking stories of those who have gone through the suffering from the division. They will also hear about the people who have already lived out lives of reconciliation and peace beyond the division.”
Tveit said that since the 2013 WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, the WCC has renewed and strengthened its commitment to increased ecumenical efforts for peace, reconciliation, and reunification of the divided Korean people.
Rev. Dr Jin Yang Kim, WCC programme executive and assistant coordinator of the Ecumenical Forum for Korea, opened the proceedings by beating a distinctive gong in Korean fashion, and Korean singer Baekeun Cho delivered a moving rendition of Agnus Dei.
Replacing armistice with peace treaty
“We sincerely aspire to end to the Korean War, declaring the replacement of the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty,” said Tveit.
The campaign will last from 1 March to 15 August, during which hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will say: “We Pray, Peace Now, End the War!”
The Korean War was fought from 1950 to 1953, but fighting ceased only with an armistice, and a peace treaty is yet to be signed. At least three million people are thought to have died in the fighting and families were wrenched apart by the division of the country.
Representatives from the Korean Christian Federation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and from the National Council of Churches in the Republic of Korea were invited to reflect on the significance of 70 years and share their hope for the future.
The campaign issued a clarion call for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula as part of a nuclear-free world.
“The ongoing 1945 division and the unfinished 1950 Korean War have become a socio-geopolitical ‘original sin’ against Korean people’s life security,” said Rev. Dr Hong-Jung Lee, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea.
‘Prayers are key of peace’
“We believe that the prayer campaign will be a key of peace to open the gate of God’s grace, a breath of peace to cultivate forgiveness and reconciliation, a fountain of peace to revitalize a global ecumenical solidarity, and a milestone of peace toward the God-recreating Korean oikoumene.”
Tveit said the prayer mission looks to the letter of Paul to the Ephesians 2:14: “For he is our peace; in his flesh, he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.”
On 18 November 2019, the National Council of Churches in Korea at its General Assembly in Jeongdong decided to proclaim 2020 as a “jubilee year” marking 70 years since the Korean War.
The prayer of Korean churches as well as by the WCC was read from Seoul by Rev. Dr Sang Chang, WCC Asia region president.
“Oh Lord God of history, please hear our prayers. Seventy years since the Korean Peninsula was divided, we seek peace and reunification.” She said the division has led to “woe and Cold War deepening the pain of our people.”
Rev. Frank Chikane, moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) spoke from South Africa via a phone link saying he had met the people from both North and South Korea who want peace. “We pray that the Lord will help them.”
“I see Korean peace as a kind of Litmus test for all of humanity. If we cannot find a way to end the insanity of a 70-year-old war on the Korean Peninsula, how do we expect to solve the most urgent problems threatening the survival of our entire planet?” said Erich Weingartner, former executive secretary of the CCIA from Canada.
Mimi Han, vice president of the Young Women’s Christian Association, said from a “freezing Seoul” that international support from world churches is needed to support the South Korean government’s desire for contact again with the North.
“Each of us is able to take part from wherever in the world. All of you are able to join the campaign,” said Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of Communication at the start. She also called attention to a social media kit as well as a special website that will offer resources to help people across the world pray and reflect in meaningful ways.
The campaign will end on 15 August, celebrated as Liberation Day in both North and South Korea, the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese colonial oppression, yet it also was the day when the peninsula was divided into two countries.