A New Flag of Independence and God’s Grace

This post is excerpted from reflections by the Rt. Rev. Bismark Avokaya, Bishop of the Diocese of Mundri, on South Sudan’s July 9 independence.

We are enormously grateful to God for his gracious gift of freedom and liberty at last. When the new flag of independence, freedom and liberty was being lifted high, it became so emotional and most of us shed tears of joy in the process!

The previous day, in our Cathedral we had organized special prayers for the dedication of the new nation to God and we called on all our people to take part, including the County Commissioner and the heads of the departments. Many turned up for the service. And we interceded for the orphans, widows and widowers, war victims including the amputees, those internally displaced into Khartoum and in need of returning to South but are stranded, the exiled, etc. We prayed for the government leaders, the Church, etc. But we also prayed for the conflict areas of Abyei, South Kordofan, Nuba Mountains in general and the Blue Nile. Because we firmly believe unless these areas are free as well, we shall never really be free.

And then I officiated the special prayers for our land and river waters. So we literally brought some soil and river water into the service, because we know we had lost a lot of innocent people over the years on this land! Hence we cried to God in prayer for God’s forgiveness.

And finally I led the prayers of dedication of the nation to God, in which I dedicated the copy of the local land act, the copy of the National Constitution, the new flag, and the state flag to God in prayer – believing unless the Lord builds, the work of the builders are in vain and unless the Lord guards the city, those who stand guard are in vain, as the Psalmist says (Ps. 127:1f). We emphasized, Let this new flag remind us of God’s grace every time we see it, because if it were not for God, we won’t have this gift of freedom…

And we ended the service with the celebration of the Holy Communion, for yet another great reminder that although we celebrate this political freedom, we should never forget that the greatest freedom offered to us by Jesus supersedes this temporal freedom. Moreover we should not forget that he will soon or later return to take us to his glory… It was such an emotional and heart searching service and was much appreciated.

We thank you very much for your prayers and thoughts about us in this new dispensation.

Photo: “A New Dawn: South Sudan,” cc by babasteve