As tensions mount between North Korea and the United States, all of us need to be in prayer for cooler heads and the calming of fears. We here in the California-Pacific Conference are especially affected by these tensions, as we are responsible for the United Methodist Churches on Guam that is threatened specifically by North Korea. We also have the greatest number of Korean-American churches in the Connection, and fears spring up for relatives in both the North and South of Korea. The seeming rhetoric and immaturity of both leaders threatening preemptive nuclear strikes, and “fire and fury,” is unacceptable in today’s age.
As we recently witnessed the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only time atomic weapons have been used in the history of humankind, we are reminded of the devastation inflicted upon the citizens of Japan. Our own Rev. Harry Fujimoto remains a living “Hibakusha,” or atomic bomb survivor, and must contend with aliments directly related to the radiation of the Hiroshima bomb.
As a young adult, I once stayed in a church in Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb survivors were placed days after the dropping of the bomb. I could not sleep well, and I had horrible dreams of a city on fire and screams of victims. It was a depiction of a living hell, and I will never forget that visit and my own reliving of the aftermath of terror.
The atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima killed an estimated 90,000 to 166,000 people. The bomb dropped on Nagasaki killed as estimated 39,000-80,000 people. As devastating as the results of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, we must remember that they are only a fraction of what a modern nuclear weapon is capable of. The largest nuclear blast on record was 3,333 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb
We must all pray that such devastation never is released in our fragile ecological world. The toll of death and destruction is unimaginable by the standards of our nuclear weapons capabilities.
I implore you to pray for calm and rationality of our world leaders embroiled in this latest conflict. Let us turn to God in this moment of historic tension. We must pray for peace, and in a hope that must not falter.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Correction: Due to miscommunication, a previous version of this call to prayer incorrectly stated Rev. Debbie Wise as the pastor of Guam UMC. Pastor Wise is the pastor of Immanuel UMC in Saipan. Rev. Johann Osias is the pastor of Guam UMC. Our sincere apologies.