Have you ever waited for a miracle? We remember and recognize this situation every Advent time, but often it is not felt deeply and personally. It is a very different thing to pray, and petition, and hope, and dream of a miraculous act breaking into our day-to-day world. For my entire life, I have prayed that my nation, my country, my homeland, my heritage, and family could know peace and reconciliation – and become a peaceful and productive partner with our global community. I am overwhelmed as I see this miracle unfold, and am reminded again of the power of prayer to reconcile, to heal, to unite, and to usher in a new beginning for a new creation.
The historic summit in Singapore this week brought the Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un, together with United States President Donald Trump to discuss the future, not only of these two countries, but of the whole Korean peninsula as well.
Four commitments were made that lay a foundation for lasting peace in Korea:
- The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
- The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
- Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
- The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
These are amazing agreements that change almost everything in the relationship of these two countries, and they will make the healing between North and South Korea that much easier and more likely. This will bring a new spirit and a peaceful relationship to East Asia and the whole world. As with all new relationships – or existing relationships undergoing a period of grace and forgiveness – this is a fragile and delicate time. While the agreements may appear on their face to be simple, they are not easy. This is a time for fervent prayer, and to encourage our leaders to do everything in their power to nurture and support a healthy relationship.
It is also an excellent opportunity for us as a denomination to offer our support to these efforts. I am prayerful that our Council of Bishops, our General Board of Global Ministries, and all the other agencies of The United Methodist Church will work together to provide opportunities to visit North and South Korea, and engage in whatever ways are most helpful to promote peace and harmony.
Peace is an essential aspect of the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. Where God is at work, where grace and hope and mercy and compassion become normal and expected, miracles happen. My brothers and sisters, this is nothing short of a miracle, and a testament to the unifying power of God. Pray with me for denuclearization, disarmament, cessation of violence, that by God’s grace, peace and love may abound. Thanks be to God!
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
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).