it's Fiji Day and some people are even wearing black today - with their disappointments.
One of the Fijian ministers working in Australia has emailed a letter around to the congregations as follows:
Tukutuku mai vei Talatala Iliesa Naivalu.
Below is a reflection towards our anticipation to celebrate the Fiji Day:
Request to Pray and Fast for Fiji - Sunday 12/10/2008
Should I be singing, chanting and dancing when my people are suffering
Should I be playing and celebrating when thousands of my countrymen are tormented in grief
Should I be indulging myself in feasting when many children in Fiji are starving
Should I be spending exorbitantly when mothers stare aimlessly trying to figure out as what to give their little children to survive.
Yet here in Australia we hear so much of the hype where our people brace themselves for extravagant celebrations of all sorts. We are so addicted to the annual event that we couln't even ponder whether it is still meaningful to us. Because back home, people are no longer part of the day as they are to weary in their plight. More so the day is taken mostly by military parades and a show of more combat weapons and more ridicules from the power that be..
As you are thinking of a way to celebrate, I would request you to take a minute to ask yourself: What am I celebrating? Should we celebrate a doomed economy, a rise in employment, poverty, rise in suicide (rated top 10 in the world), shattered dreams for thousands of our youths, stife among the mess and a sense of hopeleseness to many thousand more.
Oh yes, where you are there will be a lot of fun, sporting activities, feasting, chanting and dancing. There will be a lot of singing too.
But I wish to remind you of Psalms 137: 1-4:
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
When we remember Zion
Our captors asked us for songs
Our tormentors demanded songs of joy
They said, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion'
(But we said): 'How shall we sing a new song in a foreign land.
Nehemiah was well off in being an attendant at the royal court in Iran.
The sad tale of his country Israel saddened him so much that King Artaxerxes commented on his appearance. “I had not been sad in front of the king. He asked, Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but the sadness of heart. I answered the king, Why should my face not look so sad when my city and country have been destroyed?”
Nehemiah was saddened by the news from home. People in Israel were in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gate had been burned with fire. Nehemiah said: "When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven."
My plea to all people of faith, is to pray and fast for Fiji this Sunday 12th of October. There is no other way that our beloved country can be redeemed from its doomed destination. It is only through the power and the love of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.
May God shower His peace upon you. Lord save Fiji.
Rev. Iliesa Naivalu
Melbourne Fijian Uniting Church.