“HONG KONG, ZIMBABWE AND THE GOSPEL”
A SERMON FOR WORLD CHURCH SUNDAY
A sermon preached at the
have many issues before us -
and in the next few minutes I want us to keep in mind
§ Hong Kong (the main theme of our service today),
(today Archbishop Sentanu has led calls in this
to join the nationwide day of prayer for Zimbabwe,
§ Our police force - Thursday is a day of prayer for the police
§ Our local elections - Thursday is polling day
§ World Church on World Church Sunday
§ Local Church on the day of our Mint Annual Church Meeting
That’s our agenda for the day!
The call to prayer for the Police Force states
“Jesus told us to pray that his Kingdom
would come on earth as it is in heaven.
There is no place in God’s Kingdom for injustice,
fear, hatred, dishonesty, addiction and violence”
This is related specifically to the work of the police force -
but it applies equally to the business of our Annual Church Meeting
and indeed is a challenge to the whole World Church.
been good to hear from Angela White earlier in the service,
to learn more of the Church in Hong Kong,
and to give thanks for the work of God there.
as far as we are concerned in this country,
the story of Hong Kong is also a cautionary and sometimes shameful story.
The British first acquired and used Hong Kong
as a strategic base in the Opium Wars in the 1830/40s -
these were wars waged by the British
to ensure the continued importation of Indian opium into China.
The damage done to the Chinese population was ignored:
The opium trade was supported - indeed enforced -
in order to develop trade with China
purely on the basis of British economic interests.
It is not
only in this Century that this and other powerful Western nations
have sacrificed the interests of the developing world
as well as the dictates of justice
on the altar of national economic self interest.
Timothy Mo’s novel “An Insular Possession”
is set in the early years of Hong Kong.
One character describes seeing cases of opium and cases of Bibles
being unloaded together from incoming British ships -
consignments of drugs were even wrapped in Gospel tracts.
to remember in every age & place that
“There is no place in God’s Kingdom for injustice,
fear, hatred, dishonesty, addiction and violence”
How do we spread the good news of the Gospel amongst all people?
always the danger that we will mouth the words of Scripture
whilst actually denying the very Gospel we spread in the way we live our lives -
that we will talk about justice, love and peace,
but by our actions continue to enslave, demean or persecute others.
As we watch the Olympic torch en route to China,
we are very much aware that the symbol of the Olympic ideal
is at sad variance with the actions of the Beijing Government
in Tibet and elsewhere.
We are called to carry the light of the Gospel from
generation to generation -
to receive the good news of Christ’s love and pass it on to those benighted
in out own generation and generations to come.
spread the light of the Gospel,
is it reflected in the lives we live, or is it at variance with them?
We planned today to reflect on the Church in Hong Kong -
since then events in Zimbabwe have inevitably come to the fore,
and in solidarity with our Zimbabwean friends here
we are also marking today’s international Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe.
I am so glad that Caroline from our Mint Zimbabwean community
will be leading our prayers shortly.
very much aware that for our Christian brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe,
carrying the light of the Gospel right now
is a very difficult task - fraught with risk and danger.
from our position of comfort and freedom,
it is not for us to advise let alone instruct our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe,
or indeed for that matter in Tibet - on what they should do.
But what we can and must do is this:
(a) we must pray for all those
who are persecuted for their faith
or for their pursuit of peace and justice
(& picking up on last week’s service, we pray both for Church members
in Harare or Bulawayo and also for Buddhist monks in Tibet)
(b) we must remind those who
suffer that God is good,
and that even though they walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
God will never ever desert them.
(c) If we are going to pray and encourage others
in their Christian witness and lifestyle, we must act as we pray.
for something and not live by the standards of your prayer
is no better than distributing tracts along with parcels of opium.
involved in politics here on behalf of peace and justice and compassion
is so easy in this country compared with what it means
for those in China and Zimbabwe at the moment -
No one will beat us up on the way to the polling stations on Thursday.
And if we
in this country cannot stir ourselves to fight and sweat for a better world,
for an end to “injustice, fear, hatred, dishonesty, addiction and violence”
we should be ashamed of ourselves.
read from Paul’s letter to the Romans -
the message is the same in every language -
“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good” -
the Chancellor of the Anglican
Diocese of Harare
has quoted that verse to the people of Zimbabwe this week -
reminding them and us that if we will trust in God,
then ultimately the power of his love will and shall prevail.
Let me conclude with some words of Martin Luther King.
in the heat of the civil rights struggle of Alabama in the 1960s,
they are equally relevant to the nations of our contemporary world -
"We are called to be thermostats that transform and
the temperature of society, not thermometers
that merely record or register the temperature of majority opinion...
How often the Church has had
a high blood pressure of creeds and an anaemia of deeds...
The time is always right to do what is right...
Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precede the crown we wear.”
May God bless the people of Hong Kong and China and Tibet
May God bless the people of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa
bless the people of the UK and Korea and India and the Philippines
and Singapore and Sierra Leone and Kenya and Malaysia and the USA
and every nation represented here in this service today…
with all God’s people
May we fight for the Kingdom
May we carry the cross
May we inherit the crown.
Order of Service
10.30 am World Church Sunday Service led by Rev Andrew Sails
with Angela White, Joey Chow, Nicole Lai and the Mint Orchestra
Hymn 13: “Praise my soul” (accompanied by the Mint Orchestra).
All Age Ministry: “Hong Kong” - Angela White
Hymn: “May the Lord, mighty God” to Chinese Tune (World Praise 170) –
introduced by Jean Usher (accompanied by the Mint Orchestra).
May the Lord mighty God,
Bless and keep you for ever;
grant you peace,
courage in every endeavour.
Lift up and see God’s
God’s grace, for ever;
may the Lord,
bless and keep you forever.
Minister; Let us share God’s blessing.
Adults; The peace of the Lord be with you
Young Church; And also with you.
Minister; Go in peace.
younger children leave
Lesson: Psalm 67 (p.581) read by Joey Chow
Joey will read the lesson in Cantonese - the English translation will be found on p. 581 of the Church Bibles
Joey will also say a little about herself and her background in the Church in Hong Kong before reading the lesson.
“The Church in Hong Kong” - Angela White
Hymn 10 “Let all the world”
New Testament Lesson:
Romans 12:9-21 read by Nicole Lai
Nicole will read the lesson in Cantonese - the English translation can be found on p.1139 of the Church Bibles
“Hong Kong, Zimbabwe and the World Church” - Andrew Sails:
Hymn 758 “In Christ there is no east or west”
Prayers of Intercession led by Caroline Colin
including prayers for Hong Kong and China, and also prayers for Zimbabwe
(April 27 has been called as a special day of prayer for Zimbabwe throughout the world)
Hymn 66 “Great is thy faithfulness” (accompanied by the Mint orchestra)
1. 오 신실하신 주 내 아버지여
2. 봄철과 또 여름 가을과 겨울
3. 내죄를 사하여 안위하시고
후) 오 신실하신 주 오 신실하신 주