25 May 2000
[Anglican Media Sydney] It is our Christian duty to obey and support the lawful authority of the State. Even Christ himself submitted to the legally constituted authorities. This resulted in his death on the cross. Christians may sometimes find themselves unhappy with government policies, we may be uncomfortable with the manner in which government officials act, we may find ourselves unwilling to support the lawful authorities. In our democratic society, there are legitimate ways to express disapproval. These avenues have not been exhausted. Christ has shown us that we can use words to express our discontent and to request changes.
Some of us feel great sorrow for what has happened, some feel angry at those who have broken the law. These are natural reactions which we need to keep under control. We need to examine ourselves to see how much responsibility for the present state of affairs lies with us. Have we followed Jesus Christ's teaching found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew's gospel to be humble, compassionate, pure in heart and peacemakers? Have we been concerned to right injustices that others suffer and to free ourselves of selfishness? Peacemaking calls for us to be actively engaged in creating a harmonious society where every person is valued and everyone's needs are met. We Christians need to be more Christ-like, to be servants, not those who want to be served. Christ suffered and died on the cross. We are suffering and will continue to suffer in the months and years ahead as a result of what was done on May 19.
But Christ rose from the dead. It is this resurrection hope that we assure the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and all the legally constituted authorities of this country of our support at this difficult time. I am asking the Anglican Church here and all over the world to pray continually, morning and evening for our nation. We pray for those who are detained against their will, we pray for those whose actions have brought Fiji to this state, we pray for all who feel wronged and we pray for God's blessing on all our people in this nation that we may find peace and reconciliation.
God bless Fiji,
Guard our people,
Guide our leaders,
And give us peace:
For Jesus Christ's sake - Amen.
The Rt Rev Jabez Bryce
Bishop of Polynesia
Bishop Bryce forwarded this message to the Anglican Board of Mission and Anglican Media Sydney for circulation around the Anglican Communion.