Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pray for Hong Kong


The Lutheran Theological Seminary suspended its classes on Monday and Tuesday due to demonstrations and protests for true democracy in Hong Kong. A prayer service was held on Monday and the candle lit chapel remained open for prayer on both days. 

Oct 1- 2 (Wednesday - Thursday) are public holidays in Hong Kong. During this time we, along with our students at LTS, are learning about the Church and its engagement with democracy, as prayers are lifted up for students, society, government, police.

Last night one of our colleagues organized a night hike/prayer walk for Hong Kong.
Arrival to Hong Kong Island by Star Ferry on Monday night.
Various professors have been accompanying small groups of seminary students to witness the actual protest situation.

Wayne took this photo Wed night, Oct 1, impressed to see even
children and young families engaged with this peaceful protest
Tomorrow (Friday) our seminary President and Dean have arranged for continued prayer and discussion of Hong Kong churches' engagement with the protests, including presentation of a paper "Civil Disobedience - An Impact on the Hong Kong Churches, " written by LTS professor, Dr. Pilgrim Lo. It provides a little history of the pro-democracy negotiations and then discusses the value and possible application of Luther's views to the situation (we are a Lutheran seminary!). 

On the one hand, Wayne and I find ourselves wondering  if the world has ever in its history seen such a peaceful way of protesting. We've followed the reports and also seen first hand how food and water is being distributed, contingency plans are in place to help any first aid or emergency vehicles to get through the crowds - protest signs and speeches seem remarkably polite and positive. I found myself behind this guy on Monday night -- fanning not only himself but reaching out to fan other demonstrators and bystanders, including me!
A moment later he fanned me - a welcome second of relief
in the Hong Kong heat.

water bottles ready for distribution in heat indexes reaching over 100 F.
On the other hand,  many of our Chinese friends and colleagues here are worried. What may happen if the students decide to stay after Thursday, when a "normal" work day should resume?  What will happen if the leaders of the students and Occupy Central and the current Hong Kong administrative leaders do not go to the negotiation table? The terrible shadow of Tiananmen Square 25 years ago hangs heavy over Hong Kong.

Wherever you are ithe world, we invite you to say a prayer for beautiful Hong Kong and all of God's beloved people here - students, Occupy Central demonstrators, government, police, and especially the leaders and emerging leaders in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
May God have mercy to allow this peaceful witness to continue - some how - into a peaceful resolution.

As Wayne is a Reinhold Niebuhr fan, he suggests one of his favorite Niebuhr prayers:

"O God, in whom there is no darkness at all, we thank you that though we walk in darkness, you have give us enough light in which to walk.  As the sun dispels each morning the shadows of the night, so your mercies,which surround us, pierce the shadows of sin ever again, and help us to see the meaning of life.  Give us grace to triumph over the confusion of impulse, in which we are so easily ensnared, and to walk in the way of wisdom disclosed by your wisdom.  Grant us clearness of vision especially when good is intertwined with evil, and duty conflicts with desire, so that we do your will this day and always.  Amen"