At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer “that they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17: 21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity.
“Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …” (Deut. 16: 18-20)
Christians from Indonesia have prepared the resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Indonesia is the largest country in South East Asia, made up of more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and over 740 local languages, united by one local language Bahasa Indonesia. With some 86% of its 260 million people estimated to be Muslim, it has the largest Islamic population of any country. About 10% of Indonesians are Christian. Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in ‘solidarity and by collaboration’, regarding all Indonesians as brothers and sisters.
But gotong royong sits ill at ease with the neo-liberal approach to economics that has led to economic growth and corruption infecting politics and business, often with devastating effects on the environment. Meanwhile those who are supposed to promote justice and protect the weak fail to do so. As a consequence, a country rich in resources bears the burden of many people living in poverty. Particular ethnic and religious groups are often associated with wealth in ways which have fed tensions.
The Christians of Indonesia found that the words of Deuteronomy, “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …” spoke powerfully to their situation.
There will be a celebration of prayer and fellowship in the Abbey Church on Sunday, 20th January at 3.00 pm. Christians from all the villages in the parish have been invited to take part – Turners Hill, Crawley Down, West Hoathly, Balcombe and Ardingly. We will be the hosts, so do please support this event, and please let us know if you can help by providing some simple refreshments and helping to serve them.