National Council of Churches in Korea calls for peace building

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

Their full statement follows:

"For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into oneand has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostilitybetween us. He has abolished the law with its commandments andordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity inplace of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile bothgroups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to deaththat hostility through it." (Ephesians 2:14-16 NRSV)

Today the tension between North and South Korea has been increasingmore than ever before. Each expresses outrage, irritating the otherrather than making an effort toward dialogue, compromise,reconciliation and being together. After the reports of NorthKorea's failure to launch a long-range rocket, Lee Myung Bak, thePresident of South Korea, irritated North Korea, by mentioning thenecessity of reform of farm land, as well as talking of "JasmineReformation" and that dictatorship government could not bemaintained even if one man is very strong. Furthermore, ourmilitary aggravated the threat of war, displaying fearful missileability which can attack all the area in North Korea including theoffice of Kim Jung Eun, the first chairperson of the DefenceCommittee. As a counteraction, North Korea has been dramaticallyincreasing its level of criticism and offensive words. In this timeof tension, people are shaking with the anxiety of an outbreak ofwar.

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

We, Christians, should confess and repent our sin in not rightlyresponding to, and not living according to, God's call to peace andshould clearly acknowledge today's situation which is rapidlymoving towards conflict between North and South and is not contentwith the 60 years of agony and pain. We, all people of North andSouth, should keep ourselves awake and pray for peace on the Koreanpeninsula as well as making every effort to accomplish it.

1. Both governments in North Korea and South Korea should restrainwords and actions heightening tension and conflict in the Koreanpeninsula, and should make every effort to achieve peace throughdialogue.
2. South Korean government should refrain from its hard line policytoward North Korea and change to peace and reconciliation, andtherefore contribute to national great task of buildingpeace.
3. Politicians should commit themselves to avoid any military clashbetween North and South which is threatening people's life,security, and possession.
4. The press and journalists should refrain from sensational andinflammatory reporting, making people anxious and threatening peacein Korean peninsula.

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

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

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 daysof tension.
We pray for all those who speak words of peace and work forjustice,
and ask that all may have the strength to avoid words of hatred andacts of violence.
We pray for those who lead and those who follow,
that they may see reconciliation and unity as worthy and achievablegoals.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our peace,
who has broken down the wall of hostility that we might all beone.