National Council of Churches in Korea calls for peace building

Gathering for an emergency prayer meeting today (30 April), the National Council of Churches in Korea is urging people to confess their sins and work towards peace.

Their full statement follows:

"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. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it." (Ephesians 2:14-16 NRSV)

Today the tension between North and South Korea has been increasing more than ever before. Each expresses outrage, irritating the other rather than making an effort toward dialogue, compromise, reconciliation and being together. After the reports of North Korea's failure to launch a long-range rocket, Lee Myung Bak, the President of South Korea, irritated North Korea, by mentioning the necessity of reform of farm land, as well as talking of "Jasmine Reformation" and that dictatorship government could not be maintained even if one man is very strong. Furthermore, our military aggravated the threat of war, displaying fearful missile ability which can attack all the area in North Korea including the office of Kim Jung Eun, the first chairperson of the Defence Committee. As a counteraction, North Korea has been dramatically increasing its level of criticism and offensive words. In this time of tension, people are shaking with the anxiety of an outbreak of war.

War on the Korean peninsula should not be permitted for any reason. Our important mission is to put down all the guns and swords, to make reconciliation and to put an end to war, and, one step further, to achieve peace and reunification through reconciliation and being together. Even though there are differences in ideology and position between the two Koreas, any expression or action of hatred, irritating and threatening each other is not be beneficial to anyone. Moreover showing off unadvisedly the ability of military power, instigating an arms race, and promoting conflict and war should not be happening again.

We, Christians, should confess and repent our sin in not rightly responding to, and not living according to, God's call to peace and should clearly acknowledge today's situation which is rapidly moving towards conflict between North and South and is not content with the 60 years of agony and pain. We, all people of North and South, should keep ourselves awake and pray for peace on the Korean peninsula as well as making every effort to accomplish it.

1. Both governments in North Korea and South Korea should restrain words and actions heightening tension and conflict in the Korean peninsula, and should make every effort to achieve peace through dialogue.
2. South Korean government should refrain from its hard line policy toward North Korea and change to peace and reconciliation, and therefore contribute to national great task of building peace.
3. Politicians should commit themselves to avoid any military clash between North and South which is threatening people's life, security, and possession.
4. The press and journalists should refrain from sensational and inflammatory reporting, making people anxious and threatening peace in Korean peninsula.

30th of April, 2012, by all participants of the urgent prayer meeting praying for peace in the Korean peninsula.



Steve Pearce, Partnership Coordinator for the Methodist Church in Britain, said: "These are difficult days in Korea. Many are living with worry and hunger, many are fearful of acts of violence. Christians in both North and South Korea need to know that they are in our prayers. Both we and our leaders need to speak and act in ways that lead to peace and not be tempted to the easier words of confrontation."

Prayer for Korea:

God, lover of peace and concord,
We pray for our brothers and sisters in Korea,
May they, both in the North and the South, know peace in these days of tension.
We pray for all those who speak words of peace and work for justice,
and ask that all may have the strength to avoid words of hatred and acts of violence.
We pray for those who lead and those who follow,
that they may see reconciliation and unity as worthy and achievable goals.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our peace,
who has broken down the wall of hostility that we might all be one.
Amen. 

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