May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus… —Romans 15:5
In August we issued a call to prayer on behalf of our sisters and brothers on the Korean peninsula as tensions escalated. Those prayers were answered with an agreement that defused tensions and allowed separated families, as well as religious leaders, to meet each other across the divide over the last several months.
However tensions have risen again. The announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of the detonation of a hydrogen bomb and the response of the Republic of Korea and its allies has ended the state of detente on the Korean peninsula and raised concerns about future actions.
Our sisters and brothers on the National Council of Churches of Korea’s Peace and Reunification Committee had an emergency meeting on Monday, 11 January, to address these developments. They issued a statement urging “South and North Korea along with the US and China [to] immediately convene a ‘peace treaty’ negotiation to establish a peace system in the Korean peninsula.”
The statement raised three main points:
1. Peace cannot be built through nuclear weapons and an arms race.
2. North and South Korea as well as surrounding countries including the US must stop actions of provocation and begin dialogue.
3. Sanctions against the North must be lifted and exchanges must be extensively promoted.
Choi Bu-Ok, the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), has posted a statement on the situation. In it, he calls for prayers, for the prevention of nuclear proliferation and for reconciliation, dialogue and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.
We continue to call for prayers and share a part of the “2015 Easter North-South Joint Prayer” from the NCCK:
Before we fault others,
Help us purify ourselves, as we are filled with hate, anger and violence
Grant us the inner courage to reflect back on our true past
Face the hidden truth
And reunite with those who suffered unrighteous death
Give our weak selves the Holy Spirit
Let us not give up on our pursuit for forgiveness, reconciliation and unification
Amidst the despairs of death, you have shown us great hope through resurrection
Bring the new life of resurrection to this dying land
Please join us in praying: