He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula is of increasing concern throughout the world. Many people greet me with words of compassion and spiritual communities across The United Methodist Church and around the world. They are all praying in light of the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Current threats and military activities in Korea inspire me to pray to God for peaceful resolution. It is a painful reality that North and South Korea have remained at war for over 60 years. No resolution has ever been achieved in the conflict and even greater tension and alarm exist today. Hundreds of thousands of families are divided by the demilitarized zone and experience the violation of the basic human right to live in peace as family. Military confrontation stirs up the culture of mistrust and hatred between people.
I believe God's mission and salvation should result in peace and reconciliation among the nations. It can be reached through mutual respect and negotiation. Both governments of North and South must be honest about their mutual challenges. Peace and cooperation must be offered through the world community. I pray that God's vision may become our reality:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.'
My prayers are for the people of the North; suffering in a desperate economic climate, cut off by embargo, living in want and fear. May they be reminded that war and isolation are not the solution they seek or need.
My prayers are for the people of the South; enriching freedom socially but living as if on a thin sheet of ice that may crack under their feet at any moment. May they recognize the frustration and limitations of the North and build up each other to achieve solidarity with sisters and brothers in the North.
My prayers are for the nations and their leaders -- United States, China, Japan, Russia and others - who directly influence the whole Korean peninsula. Six-party talks and negotiation should be continued. The Korean peninsula is at the mercy of many interests beyond their nation's borders. Conversation at the table, not confrontation on the battlefield, is what is most needed.
I urge North and South Korea to negotiate directly through their government leaders to forge an agreement ending the nuclear threat in the Korean peninsula, and to move toward peace through a formal agreement. For the sake of all in the world community, particularly those living in both North and South Korea, on behalf of the Church, I must call for an end to the ongoing threats and intimidation.
In Christ's never-ending promise of peace and reconciliation, I continue to pray and work for the healing of these nations and invite you to do the same. God's justice and peace need to be done on the Korean peninsula and wherever people live under the threat of war.
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).