Whether on the front line with Australian troops or working with military personnel and their families, Defence Force chaplains like Uniting Church minister Rev Charles Vesely are a potent reminder that the end state of conflict is always peace.
Reflection of the week
Posted in Faith
This week, Christians across the world are invited to join in prayer for peace and unity for the Korean Peninsula on Sunday 13 August. Prayer is also encouraged in the days and weeks before and after this date, particularly in light of recent tensions.
Rev Steve Lee, the Chair of the Korean National Conference in the Uniting Church, has offered the following prayer points, which he says reflect the hopes of Christians in Korea:
- Peaceful leadership and co-operation across the region.
- A renewed will for reconciliation and peaceful reunification.
- Strengthen Christians across the region as they deal with complex and often difficult situations.
- Encourage prayers from around the world to uphold the people in the Korean peninsula.
The following is a prayer prepared by the National Council of Churches in Korea based in South Korea and the Korean Christian Federation based in North Korea:
“Mortal, take a stick and write on it, ‘For Judah, and the Israelites associated with it’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with it’; and join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand.” – Ezekiel 37: 16-17, NRSV
God of grace!
Once again, we greet the month of August, the month of Independence where North and South still celebrate separately and remember it differently. It has been a long, harsh period, one with cruel struggles between the two countries. No longer are we oppressed by Japanese forces, but our people are still filled with contempt for each other and our country is still challenged by neighboring forces. Lord, pity us.
God who rules history,
For the last 72 years, we dreamed of being one, but we lived like foes, not living up to our dreams. We lived separated from our family and torn apart by different ideology and systems. Lord, bring the history of our people together with your holy hands. Let us hope for unification with passionate hearts and work together so fervently that we shed the sweat of hope. For every August we encounter, help us sincerely repent with our hearts, and fill us with a strong will for unification.
God who leads peace,
Lord, we speak of one people, one sisterhood/brotherhood while filled with hatred against each other. We have violated the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Declaration, and the October 4 Joint Declaration and also firmly locked the doors of the Keumkang Mt. and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Thus, we were left with a greater danger and greater threat. Lord, listen to our desperate cries that thirst for peace.
God who gives hope,
Lord, help us to dream once more of a beautiful land where no joint-military exercise is needed. Let us welcome a new world where we are not interfered with or challenged by neighboring strong powers. Let us once again begin with the same overwhelming determination we had as of August 15, 1945. Please quickly open the doors of intercommunication and let us walk hand in hand for joint prosperity. Lord, let the North and South greet each other without prejudice. Help us newly begin a history of reconciliation and embracement on this land.
God of grace!
Bestow your grace upon the whole of Korea. Shine down pure rays of peace from Baekdu to Halla, and wet the entire land with showers of joy. Give happiness to the 80 million fellow Koreans throughout this land and this world, and guide them to be leaders of their own lives. Bring our strengthened community to be servants of the world.
God of Peace, we pray in Jesus name.
Read more on the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly website here.
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