Friday, December 20, 2019

WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle - South Korea and Japan

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle for 22-28th December includes South Korea and Japan. We also pray for our diaconal sisters in South Korea, and in Japan.

We give thanks for:
* the prophetic witness of Christians in Japan and South Korea
* the distinctive temples, art and cultures in the region
* education and economic developments that have improved the lives of many
* Japan finally reaching a settlement with Korea over “comfort women” from WW2
* how the council of churches in Japan has promoted reconciliation with the rest of Asia
* the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula, which with others has sought to reunify Korea, to defend human rights, and to work for peace and justice.

We pray for:
* an end to repression of people and to threats of military confrontation, especially on the Korean peninsula
* the reunification of Korea, that peace and justice might prevail
* women and other marginalized groups, and the inequalities they experience
* greater acceptance of immigrants that they might make a positive contribution
* new hope and meaning for the young, amid pressures of competition and consumerism.


Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”(Eph. 2: 14)
God! We confess that you, O God, are the lord of peace, life and justice on the Korean peninsula. You, O God, desire peace and reconciliation for the people of North and South Korea who suffer from the pains of division. While the ideological conflicts have disappeared from the global scene the Korean peninsula still struggles with ideological conflicts and peace is difficult to attain. We pray, O Lord for your love, peace and justice to become a living reality in the divided Korean peninsula. Lead us, O Lord, to build a just Korean peninsula where the poor and weak in society are protected and are able to live as equals in society. The relations between North and South, and the global relations may harden. In spite of such external circumstances, lead us, O Lord, to continually struggle and strive to love and share life with our brothers and sisters in North Korea, and continue to build peace so that
your justice and peace may be realized in this land.
(Excerpt from a Common Prayer by participants of The 2011 Oikos Summer Theological School, held in Jangseong, Republic of Korea)

Prayer from Korea
Who do I say that you are? I don’t know.
But what I know,
You – Good News to the captives and the poor.
Liberator of the oppressed, friend of Minjung,
suffering people, under repression,
attentive ear to the silenced,
healer of the tortured, advocate of the lowest,
hope of the desperate, homeland of the exiled.
Who do I say that you are? I don’t know.
But what I know,
You – Flower of freedom in the valley of repression.
Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.
(Seong Won Park, Presbyterian Church of Korea.)

Prayer from Japan
Eternal God,
We say good morning to you.
Hallowed be your name.
Early in the morning, before we begin our work, we praise your glory.
Renew our bodies as fresh as the morning flowers.
Open our inner eyes, as the sun casts new light upon the darkness
which prevailed over the night.
Deliver us from all captivity.
Give us wings of freedom like the birds in the sky,
to begin a new journey.
Restore justice and freedom, as a mighty stream
running continuously as day follows day.
We thank you for the gift of this morning,
and a new day to work with you.
(Masao Takenaka, first president of the Asian Christian Art Association, Japan. BAE p.62.)