Pacific Arise: TATTE Convention Centre: Apia: 26 May 2019
I welcome you all to this prayer service to acknowledge God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Samoa for His abundant grace and divine leadership over this nation and our people.
Hundred and eighty nine years ago, our leaders wholeheartedly accepted Christianity as the fulfillment of the revelation of a new beginning and direction for Samoa. It reached our shores when Samoa was in the midst of uncertainties, hatred, unforgiveness and political divisions which sparked a civil war. The opportune God-send arrival of God’s messenger of Peace – Rev. John Williams in 1830 in the middle of civil strife following the violent death of the then reigning evil ruler of Samoa brought about an immediate acceptance of Christianity across the whole country.
Indeed the Christian core message of love inspired our forebears to become Christian Missionaries. Many did not have proper bible training but their faith and commitment in God were divinely inspired in their decision to leave their country, families and loved ones to sail across the Pacific as Missionaries, preaching the Word of God. Many never returned. They died as Missionaries on foreign lands principally in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and others. We will always remember their sacrifices and courage to serve the God of Israel, the God of Mt. Sinai, the God of Samoa.
The church has been part of our lives as Samoans for many years. It has shaped our thoughts and our cultural traditions and also molded our many generations, both past and present in their aspirations to live in peace, harmony, and in love.
The declaration of our faith in God was further strengthened through our Constitution which pronounced that Samoa should be an Independent State, based on Christian principles and Samoan customs and traditions. Samoa became independent in 1962 – 57 years ago, the first Trust Territory of the UN to become independent. Recent changes to the Constitution in 2017 which shifted the declaration from the Preamble to the Articles of the Constitution declaring Samoa to be a Christian nation, while respecting individuals’ constitutional rights to freedom of religion were unanimously approved by Parliament. Our Constitution therefore is the most concrete and powerful affirmation of our declaration, that Samoa is founded on God.
This service reaffirms once again our covenant with the only true God – the Blessed Trinity. God promised Abraham to leave his country and family to go to the land He would show him. Abraham faithfully heeded and obeyed God’s commandment and he left. This was the genesis of God’s generational promise that the Bible refers to as the Abrahamic covenant, that states and I quote, “I will make you a great nation and I will bless you; all the people in the world will be blessed through you’ (end quote). This promise was fulfilled when Jesus Christ the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the root of David and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah was born and lived on this planet more than 2000 years ago. His death and resurrection defeated the power of sin and death, and guaranteed salvation for the whole world through the spilling of His blood on the Cross. Through the blood of the new covenant with God all curses were annulled, the strongholds of the devil were demolished and eternal life was guaranteed. For whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The message therefore tonight is one of peace, unity and love in Jesus Christ. I recently visited Israel for the first time this year to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on issues of mutual benefit to our two nations and to sign the visa agreement between our two countries. While in Israel, I had the opportunity to visit many holy places such as River Jordan in the exact spot our Lord was baptized, the Sea of Galilee, Mount of Olives and the Mount of Beatitudes in Galilee. Jesus’s famous speech on the Mount of Beatitudes as recorded by Saint Matthews laid down the fundamental elements of Christ’s message of peace, forgiveness, humility, justice, unity and above all, love.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God’. Where there is peace, there is unity. Where there is unity there is love and God is love. The greatest commandment that Jesus himself taught in his brief mission on earth is to ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and to love thy neighbour as thyself’. And we are often reminded that had we mortals remembered that God dwells within us, our bodies being the temple of God, we would never be unkind to our neighbours.
We live in a world that is fast evolving with rapid advancement in technology. The challenges we are facing have become more complex and difficult to address. Climate change is the biggest threat to the world’s existence, deadly diseases are on the rise, bitterness and unforgiveness have caused division and hatred amongst the people. All these are a sign of the ever present power of the Devil. The Kingdom of darkness has been persistent in trying to take control of this planet. As citizens of this country we should all pray fervently for God’s peace and unity in Samoa. We pray that we would be filled with Godly peace that surpasses all understanding and guards our minds and hearts in Christ Jesus. And that we should pray unceasingly not once or twice but as often during the day as we attend to our daily chores and also before we sleep at night.
On behalf of Samoa we repent of our sins, and renounce all unGodly covenants our ancestors have made on our behalf, and have tarnished our commitment to God.
Let this prayer service be an offering of our prayers for peace and unity in Samoa, in Israel and throughout the whole world. Let it be a reminder to all of us, that we were created in God’s image for a divine purpose, to be holy and blameless in His sight, and to serve and love one another, through good works for faith without works is truly empty.
The signing Ceremony tonight reassures our joint commitment to our covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Samoa in Union with All the Members of our “All Pacific Arise”.
God bless, Soifua