A Call to Prayer for Peace in the Korean Peninsula

Mountain Sky Area Bishop Karen Oliveto, Rocky Mountain Conference Director of Mission & Ministry Rev. Youngsook Kang and General Secretary of the General Board of Church & Society Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe ask the people of The United Methodist Church to pray for peace in the Korean Peninsula.

August 10, 2017

After hearing the news of the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea that included taunts of nuclear missiles, I found myself needing a word from God. I posted on Facebook: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9. Within minutes, my status was shared by numerous individuals, all as hungry as I am for a bit of hope and comfort in these uncertain and turbulent times.

And so I am going back to the Bible to remember whose I am and what I am called to be and do in this world:

The Bible tells me that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

The Bible reminds me that Blessed are the peacemakers, not the warmongers.

The Bible invites me to live into the peaceable kingdom where the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

The Bible commands me to beat my swords into plowshares.

The Bible calls me to aim not a gun but aim intentions for restoration, to comfort one another, agree with one another, and live in peace.

My siblings in Christ, our witness is needed more than ever before. If your heart is aching and your soul is in despair because it seems as if the world is spinning into violence, find comfort in the One who loves you and will never let you go.

Jesus pushes back against those who would harm us with words, labels, power, policies and guns and reminds us of who we are and whose we are. He dares to stand up against those who allow violence to simmer and fester. He offers a way of life that brings us back to a sense of our worth and our own power. He says: “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

We live in a violent world, but we don’t have to accept that it must always remain so. The God who made us loves us enough to offer us a different way of living, because we are so priceless, so precious. Our task is to believe that enough to live it out, and then invite others to live out that truth in their own lives as well.

In these uncertain days, may we take on the task of peacemaking in our families and communities, and may the power of that peace spill out into the world in ways that heal, restore, and liberate.

Stay loving, my friends,

Signature of Bishop Karen Oliveto

Bishop Karen

Words from Rev. Youngsook C. Kang

The escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula are not only a geo-political issue for the world, but also a personal one for me. My family back in South Korea are living in the reality of a divided country, and I from a distance. Although I currently live in the United States, I was born in Korea and grew up witnessing the pain and suffering of the division between the South and the North.

War and peace in the 21st century is no longer defined by ideology only. As we are witnessing right now, one of the most critical issues surrounding the Korean peninsula as well as northeast Asia (including Japan, Taiwan, China) is related to nuclear power and energy.

As a Korean-American, I aspire for peace and reunification and express hope for a peaceful resolution of the situation even in the midst of this current crisis. The United Methodist Council of Bishops’ 2009 statement on God’s Renewed Creation gives me a theological and spiritual foundation in pursuing peace and reconciliation in the Korea peninsula.

As reflected in their statement and letter, I am committed to overcome the proliferation of weapons and violence. I say “no” to nuclear power and energy and to any use of weapons. I firmly believe this stance reflects our commitment to a pilgrimage of just peace, which is part of the vision of the World Council of Churches and The United Methodist Church. I ask my friends and colleagues to faithfully respond to God’s grace and call to action on just peace and adopt a statement for a nuclear free world.

A Call to Prayer for a Just Peace

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe | August 9, 2017

On this day, 72 years ago, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki – just three days after dropping one on the city of Hiroshima. It is estimated that over 150,000 people were killed over those three days.

Fast forward to present day, the last few months have been met with anxiety and tension around threats of nuclear weapons and warfare. Leaders in North Korea continue to isolate their country as they threaten Creation with nuclear missiles. Leaders in the United States agitate and provoke with threats of destruction. It is during times like these when we must join together in a call for the exhaustion of all diplomatic efforts before turning to military action. Read the rest of this statement on the General Board of Church & Society website

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