Korea: War and Peace

. 3 min read

From our bishop, Jeremiah Park:

of depths I cry to you Lord;
O Lord,
hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy….
I wait for
the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul
waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than
watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel,
put your hope in the Lord,
for with
the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”
130:1, 5-7)
he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the
dividing wall of hostility…. He came and preached peace ….”
2:14, 17a
Remember Korea in Your Prayers
Dear Sisters and Brothers in
Grace to you in the name of Jesus
Christ our Lord and Savior, Prince of Peace, Healer of our brokenness, and
hope of the world.
August 15, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary
of the liberation of the Korean people from the Japanese occupation and
oppression for 36 years. The independence from the harsh colonial rule
came to the Korean people as a gift as World War II ended. When I was
growing up in Korea, the day was observed as the most celebrated national
holiday. I can hardly imagine the jubilation and excitement that the
Korean people had that day. 
However, the national euphoria
didn’t last long. Soon the Korean peninsula was divided into South and
North and each side was occupied by foreign powers: Russia in the North
and America in the South. After 70 years, the division still exists
and millions of lives and families have been separated. I can hardly
imagine the heartaches, pains and sufferings of those who died separated
from their loved ones. 
Husbands and wives, parents and
children, siblings, relatives, and friends, separated in their twenties,
are now in their nineties, if they are alive today, wondering
what happened to their loved ones. They assumed that the separation would
last for a few weeks or months…. Then the Korean War broke out started
by the Communist regime of the North in 1950. It was one of the most
brutal wars, which produced indescribable human tragedies: millions died, were
injured, or became refugees. 
The Armistice Agreement in 1953
created the DMZ (demilitarized zone) of 2.5 miles wide and 160 miles long
that separates South and North. The DMZ is one of the places where the
most military power is concentrated in the world today. It is only 35
miles from Seoul. Some of our people of Susquehanna Conference and I had
an opportunity to visit there last year. It was an intense experience
realizing that it is potentially the most volatile space in the world and
that the peace in the Korean Peninsula is so fragile. Technically, the
Korean War has not ended. The war left South Korea to be one of the
poorest countries in the world. However, South Korea witnessed “the
miracle of the Han River (a river that runs through Seoul, capitol
of South Korea)” and is now a prosperous and democratic country.
North Korea is quite a different story. People have been living in
oppression, persecution, fear, hunger, and darkness. Yet North Korea
continues its pursuit to be a nuclear power. 

The Cold War lives on in Korea and
has for 70 years and counting. I would like to ask you, sisters and
brothers of our Susquehanna Conference, to remember Korea and its people,
particularly those whose loved ones are separated and those who are yet to
be liberated from the most aggressive totalitarian rule, in your prayers. 
Seventy years is more than enough.
There must be a breakthrough. Please join me in the ardent prayer that the
Lord have mercy and keep peace in the Korean Peninsula and hasten the day
of reunification, but only by peaceful means. 
On Easter Day 130 years ago (April
5th, 1885), Henry G. Appenzeller, the first missionary from our church to
Korea, and his wife Ella arrived at a “Hidden Kingdom” in the
Far East. He offered a prayer for the Korean people in these words when
they landed: “We came here on Easter. May He who on that day burst
asunder the bars of death, break the bands that bind this people, and
bring them to the light and liberty of God’s children.” Korean people
have named the National Anniversary of August 15th “Kwang-Bok
Jeol”, meaning “a season of light recovered.” The light is now
only half lit over the Korean peninsula. We put our trust and hope in
Jesus Christ who came as the Light of the world. Let the light of Christ
shine over the forgotten people “in the ends of the earth.”
In Christ,

Jeremiah Park