24 Aug 2013 by Donna Uning CM-
“We are gathered here as Christians, disciples of Christ our Lord to pray for our country and Sarawak,” said the Most Rev Dato John Ha during the reflection at the National Day Prayer Service here Thursday night. Most Rev Dato John Ha is the Archbishop of Kuching from the Roman Catholic Church and Deputy Chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak.
The prayer celebration started with a procession led by the Boys Brigade bearing the flags of Malaysia and Sarawak. This was followed by the hoisting of the National and State flags, as well as the singing of both the national, Negaraku and state, Ibu Pertiwiku anthems.
“Regarded of race and creed, we Sarawakians want to be safeguarded and fostered,” he said reminding that good and well-being could not be considered without reverence to God. “We need to review our independence in the light of the Word of God.”
Most Rev Dato John Ha told how the messages from the readings were “clear enough as firm benchmarks for our review. Leviticus 25:8-12 speaks about jubilee of 50 years to be marked by the people of God. It’s a Holy year and celebration; Sabbath rest applies here in order to focus on the Lord who liberated them from Eqypt, he said.
Isaiah 61: 1-11 reminded us, “You shall be called priests of the Lord, you shall be named ministers of our God.” Luke 4:16-21 spoke of Isaiah prophesy. “It’s a powerful sermon by Jesus who said to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and saying ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Jesus brought us the greatest liberty from sin and death, and from the devil’s captivity. “It is the Lord’s greatest gift for us,” he said. “By Christ, we are called to be His priests.”
1 Timothy 2:1-10 tells us to pray for our country; “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” “That’s why we’re here,” he continued. There is only one God; He is the supreme power and authority.
“All of us are created in His image and likeness,” he said adding no one being an exception. It is our fundamental right to share the land’s resources, healthy, comfortable and free.
Our 50 years of independence must be reviewed by divine truths. These truths include true freedom of religion; equal access to the resources of the land; and mutual respect and peace. Also, the status of Sarawak in Malaysia as one of the four partners making this nation, and agents of true freedom living by God’s truth.
“May all of us live in unity and harmony, respect and love one another as Jesus Christ love us,” he ended.
The readings were read in Chinese by Rev Wong Lea Ching of Methodist Church SCAC, in Bahasa Malaysia by Rev Kelvin Jawa from the Anglican Church, in Iban by Ps Jacob Tupek from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and in English by Dr Yap Chin Hong from the Sarawak Baptist Church.
The prayers were led in in Bahasa Malaysia by Ps William Leo from the Sidang Injil Borneo Church, in English by Major Chelvee from the Salvation Army, in Bidayuh-Bau by Rev Fr Augistine Jepy from the Roman Catholic Church, and in Iban by Rev Jonathan Nora from the Methodist Church SIAC. Rev Fr Simon Poh, Chancellor from the Roman Catholic Church also led intercession with the masses.
The night filled with praise, prayer and worship was held at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Center, Kuching. The event was organized by the Association of Churches in Sarawak and hosted by the Roman Catholic Church.