2020: Let Us Seek Peace with All Our Strength!

KNCC. 15. - 25 Juni 2020

Sermon for the Week for Nation’s Reconciliation Commemorating 70 years of the Korea War
Rev. Ryuk, Soon Jong, Moderator of Presbyterian Church of the ROK, PROK

Let Us Seek Peace with All Our Strength!
Genesis 32: 24-32

"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. The war, which began on June 25, 1950, was halted by the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953, but the three-year war extracted a heavy toll from the Korean Peninsula. Our daily life collapsed, and our life’s foundation was reduced to rubble. Families were separated without knowing if the others had survived or not. Two million South Korean soldiers and civilians, 3.3 million North Korean soldiers and civilians, 360,000 Chinese, and 140,000 U.S. soldiers were killed or injured in the three-year war. They are all precious lives with families and loved ones. Even as the war snatched away precious lives, also all those still living had to live in discomfort for the rest of their lives. More than 10 million people had to leave their families and hometowns and live shedding tears in longing and loneliness.

In his book, 'The Origins of the Korean War,' Bruce Cummings wrote about the horrors of the Korean War. “In 1953, [by the time of the ceasefire] the Korean Peninsula was burned to ashes. From Busan in the South to Sinuiju in the North, Koreans were busy collecting the rest of their lives, burying the dead and mourning the lost. In the capital city of Seoul, empty buildings stood like skeletons beside the roads, which were strewn with concrete and debris. In the north, most modern buildings were devastated. Cities such as Pyongyang had been reduced to bricks and ashes. Villages were empty and huge dams could no longer store water.

[re-translated from Korean translation]” This confirms that the three-year Korean War destroyed almost everything in the South and the North. After the Korean War, the only things left on the Korean Peninsula were the collapsed homes, collapsed industrial facilities, and mutual hatred.

In Pyongyang in 2008, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK-South Korea) and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF – North Korea) held a joint worship service at Bongsu Church. About 100 Christians from the South arrived at Pyongyang Sunan Airport in the North riding on a chartered plane from Seoul. An employee guiding the Southern Christians from Sunan Airport to downtown Pyongyang on the bus made this comment: “The U.S. bombed Pyongyang during the Korean War. At the time, Pyongyang had a population of 400,000 and U.S. bombers dropped more than 400,000 tons of bombs indiscriminately.” Even now, the mindset of North Koreans regarding, ‘America=Christianity=Enemy’ has been thoroughly passed down. This is because they saw in front of their eyes their loved ones torn to death by bombs that were dropped, one ton for each person. All wars  are terrible. Many lives are sacrificed, and they make enemies of each other. For whom on earth is a war? There is no such thing as a just war in all of history. There cannot be a war “with a human face.” There can never be a humane war nor a  romantic war. You have to choose between killing or dying, and if you want to live, you have to kill someone else. Therefore, war is structurally evil, and it is an injustice in which Christianity, which considers love to be the highest value, could  never participate. ...."

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