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05/07/2017

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with Canon Stephen Shipley, Radio Producer and broadcaster.

2 minutes

Last on

Wed 5 Jul 2017 05:43

Script

Good morning.  I’ve presented ‘Prayer for the Day’ from a few unusual places over the years, but none so exciting as twenty years ago this last weekend when I found myself on a ferry boat in Hong Kong harbour. It was the start of the final day before the official celebrations marking the return of the colony to the People’s Republic of China. About three hours before the actual handover ceremony began, 500 People’s Liberation Army vehicles crossed the border from China to Hong Kong. Governor Chris Patten left his office for the last time to go to the Royal Yacht Britannia. And he was followed, in torrential rain, by the Prince of Wales speaking on behalf of the Queen.  And then the fireworks began – seven hours of them – on the theme of ‘Beijing blesses you, Hong Kong.’ It was an extraordinary time – exhilarating but also tinged with anxiety for the future. I was in Hong Kong to produce a couple of broadcast services in local churches and I remember how encouraged I was by their warmth and welcome – and yes, their optimism. The ensuing twenty years since haven’t been easy. Like so many places in the world, there’s been growing inequality between rich and poor. The soaring cost of living driven by ever-rising housing prices, and depressed employment prospects for the young has not made things easy. And yet the churches have been resilient. ‘Wonders never cease’ was the slogan on many a poster I remember, and one pastor told me that in the past they’d trusted in the peaceful status quo rather than in what God was challenging them to do. Now in a time of change, their faith was being tested but God would honour his promises. Great and wonderful are your deeds, Lord God, just and true are your ways. In times of political and economic uncertainty, give us the strength to proclaim your resources of faith, love and hope. Amen.

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