I had been asked to preach at this service which was to be held year in my own church – Hall Gate United Reformed Church,Doncaster. About 30 people from a number of different churches joined together for a service, many of them leading parts from the order of service prepared this year by women from Malaysia. The theme for 2012 was ‘Let Justice Prevail’ and we thought about people who had shown courage and persistence in the face of injustice. We read from the book of the prophet Habakkuk who found that though God seemed not to be hearing his cries for justice was nevertheless convinced that God was his strength. We read about the account in Luke’s gospel of the woman who persisted in prayer and we reflected on how necessary it is to understand that despite indications to the contrary God has indeed got the ‘bigger picture’. But this is a God who also holds out hope to his disciples because he gives each one of us the strength to do amazing things in his service.
For me one of the most moving parts of the service was in the singing of the final hymn beginning ‘The day thou gavest’, in the second verse we find
We thank thee that Thy Church unsleeping, while earth rolls onward into light, through all the world her watch is keeping, and rests not now by day or night.
We had spent the previous hour using words written by Malaysian women, knowing that we were part of a circle of 35 hours of shared prayer surrounding the earth beginning in Tonga and ending in Western Samoa. Somehow the words from that familiar hymn had a special poignancy at that point in time.