Prayers for Peace and Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula
By Christie R. House*
JUNE 8, 2018 / ATLANTA
Responding to a request from Christians across Korea for prayers of peace and reconciliation for all people on the Korean peninsula, Global Ministries set aside time at noon on June 5 for staff and visitors to gather for intercessory prayer and communion. This simple act of goodwill and faith is being repeated around the world at the urging of the National Council of Churches in Korea. Prayer services have occurred in many different countries ahead of the peace talks scheduled the second week in June in Singapore. The summit will include leaders of North and South Korea and the United States.
Thomas Kemper, Global Ministries general secretary, welcomed participants and noted that the World Council of Churches would conduct a similar prayer service the next day in Geneva. The service in the Grace United Methodist Church sanctuary incorporated liturgy from both the NCC in Korea and the 2012 Unity Statement of the WCC developed that year at its meeting in Busan, South Korea.
The Rev. Ivan Abrahams, general secretary of the World Methodist Council, said, “We covet your prayers as we work toward the reunification of Korea.” Abrahams named the demise of apartheid in South Africa, peace for the people of Israel and Palestine in the Middle East, and the peaceful reconciliation of the people on the Korean peninsula as the three areas of consistent peace work of the council over the past 40 years. He and his wife, Esme Abrahams, attended the service as they traveled through Atlanta before returning to their home in South Africa after a World Methodist Council meeting in Costa Rica.
Abrahams said the council looks forward to working with Global Ministries and the Korean Methodist Church on the Second Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula scheduled in Atlanta in November 2018. The Roundtable was formed in 2016 at the World Methodist Conference in Houston. The event focused on the role of the wider Methodist family, more than 80 million members in more than 130 countries worldwide, in promoting peace in Korea. The First Roundtable, held in Seoul in March 2017, continued the dialogue toward peace in the region.
The Rev. Jack Amick, director of sustainable development for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, offered the homily for the service, “Of Gardens, Fig Trees, Swords and Talks.” Amick noted that God’s handiwork can even be seen in the 155-mile-long Korean Demilitarized Zone that has divided the two Koreas since 1945. “Now, more than 5,000 species live in that no man’s land of space, which without human interference, has become something of a garden. Over 100 of those species of animals and birds, though endangered, are making a comeback. Within the space of peace of humans emerges a place that becomes a garden for endangered species.”
Being caretakers of God’s world and ambassadors of reconciliation is hard, Amick concluded. This essential but quiet work behind the scenes is what Christ’s followers are called to do. He urged Christians to pray for peace in Korea and heed the call to care for God’s people.
After communion, the service ended with this benediction:
God of Creation, God of Reconciliation, help us this day to live together as your beloved children.
Remind us that Your gift of breath is only for us to speak a word of hope,
that Your gift of hearing is only for us to know the cry of the oppressed,
that Your gift of hands is only for us to build Your Peaceable Kin-dom,
that Your gift of feet is only for us to march against the powers of violence and war.
Make us, this day and every day, instruments of your Peace.
In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer we pray, AMEN.
*Christie R. House serves with Global Ministries as the editor of New World Outlook.
Our Prayer for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
United Methodists and congregations may join with Christians around the world to pray for peace on the Korean peninsula using the following prayer offered by the National Council of Churches of Korea.
Lord of Life, please join us in this time as we bow our heads, praying for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. Please hear our prayers so that we may become one in the love and peace of Jesus Christ.
We have sensibly overcome the constantly quavering tinderbox crisis. The April 27th Inter-Korean Summit was fruitful, and it is now leading to a DPRK-US summit. We give thanks to the living God who oversees history and gave rise to this spring of peace.
However, we will not forget that peace does not spring easily. Thus, we desperately hope to overcome the barriers of ideology and distrust, and that this opportunity we have received once again may open the path of trust and peaceful coexistence flowing toward the stream of life, justice and peace.
We desire to continue our prayer march for reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula. Lord, as small candles gathered to bring forth a great wave of peace, may our candle of prayer meet with all those who wish for peace and be with us to grow into a great wave of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. Do not let the candle blow out, despite any troubling winds that may come, and lead us to peace.
Until the day we realize reconciliation and unification on the Korean Peninsula, let us fulfill our mission with the humble heart of God. We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who comes to our land as the Prince of Peace. Amen.