Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Dialogue is the way to peace

Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan has called on people to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

On Tuesday, in response to military exercises carried out by the US and South Korea, North Korea fired a test missile which passed over Japan.

President McMillan reiterated the call by the World Council of Churches for the international community to work towards a context where dialogue and peace negotiations can take place.

“We pray that world leaders will prioritise processes which result in constructive dialogue rather than ‘school-yard bully’ threats which are only counterproductive to peace negotiations,” said Mr McMillan.

The National Council of Churches in Korea has also called for urgent dialogue talks to take place.

Mr McMillan asked church members to hold in prayer the people of Korea and Japan, our Church Partners in Korea and the many Korean members of the Uniting Church in Australia.

“We are mindful of all those who are fearful at this time and pray for moves toward a peaceful resolution to come quickly in the long-term interests of all peoples in the region,” he said.

Assembly Theologian in Residence Rev. Dr Ji Zhang has written the following prayer for people to use.

Prayer for peace, not war, on the Korean Peninsula

Let us join with Christians around the world in prayer.
We pray together as tensions on the Korean Peninsula mount,
we urge all Christians to pray for peace, not war, dialogue, not sanction.

On this day we pray for Christian communities in Korea and around the world.
We remember Christians on the Korean Peninsula in the South and also in the North,
who despite their small voice, also desire peace.

When the world is in a dangerous time,
May we not look to military power for solutions.
But, O God, turn our eyes once again to the Cross.
Open our eyes to see the Crucified Lord again.

Discern his silence...
Speak to us, O Christ…

Do not be conformed to this world,
be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Then we may discern God's will,
That which is good and perfect.

Change our desire for military power
to our understanding about your powerless cross.
Standing in this shadow of your suffering,
we begin to see your love in the forgiveness of sins.

O Lord, let us hear, and help us to hear silence,
the silence of Christians in North Korea.
They are people, more precious than sparrows.
They too carry your cross in silence.

Turn our eyes away from the war-like campaign.
Turn our cry for peace into preservation of life.
May you be with the few voiceless in their fear;
May you be with the many overwhelmed by campaigns.

Come, O Christ,
Come to the place where life is turned against life.
Show us the simple truth that a wall takes two people to build
and two people to bring it down.

Come, Holy Spirit,
Move our hearts away from wars and towards peace,
Not making threats but creating dialogues
Not imposing sanction but healing brokenness.

We pray for ourselves.
Let us be your instruments of peace.
Where there is hatred let us show pardon,
where there is sadness let us bring hope.

Come, Creating God
May this day be a beginning of understanding.
Turning our desire for peace into the action of making peace.
May this day be a day of transformation,
Turning a dream of reunification into a reality.

Amen.

Recently Ji attended the World Council of Churches’ special session on “Peace and Conflict in Asia”. During the meeting he met a group of Christian representatives from North Korea. They told him about their strong desire for peace on the Peninsula. The session concluded with Eucharist conducted by the leaders of National Council of Churches in South Korea and Korea Christian Federation in North Korea. Over 40 church leaders from around the world came forward to receive the bread and wine with open hands.

Learn More about Korean members of the Uniting Church.