Peace in our time

20 Jul

In the book of Revelations there are several times when the people cry out to God. In each instance God answers. They are longing for an end to war and that the New Kingdom will begin. The echo over the years is a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. Perhaps in our time we do not cry out to God enough, at all, or maybe we do not listen. In Jeremiah’s time the people closed their ears and eyes to the tragedy all around them. The war was at the front door and folks were unwilling to believe that the discipline that God had promised had finally arrived. Today this small group of Presbyterian American students traveled to a little known place; No Gun Ri Peace Park. While there we learned viscerally that war, any war is violent and ugly. This little park stands alone against the giants in our world and asks; who will take responsibility? They continue to point out the bruises and scars of our past, regardless of your ethnic background. The scars here are evident as you walk by and see the impact of bullets from over sixty years ago. The emotional trauma remains because everyday people are wounded by loved ones, strangers and their government. What will you do? It is a question asked by the director of the park who sat with this collection of youth and urged them to return to the international peace conference, or at the very least to live their lives for another. To not be selfish and insular but to strive to make a difference in the world around them was the charge issued to each of us.

The morning was as heavy as the rain clouds pouring out their treasure upon the earth and then as lunch arrived we were greeted with the shining sun and much of the weight was lifted off as we visited the Korean traditional music museum. We were given a short lesson on playing a traditional drum and for many of us sitting cross legged on the floor with the drum between our feet was hard enough. We played and laughed and enjoyed our music even though we could not always cross the language barrier. The music did this for us, even sharing our thanks. These bookend experiences only magnified our exhaustion and excitement as we continued our second full day.

One last experience was to help out in the soup kitchen. We worked and sweated with the regular workers and offered hospitality to the people who came for a hot meal, sometimes the only one for that day. This time was an exchange as we took some powerful lessons and then gave back in a very small way.

Continue to pray for the health and strength of the delegation as we travel by train today and look for God in the faces of those around us.

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