Our Lord Jesus Christ warned that the end times, in which the people of God now live, would be filled with wars and rumors of wars (Matt. 24:6). Recent events in Hong Kong have stirred up uncertainty across the globe for more than just the Church. Beginning with an extradition bill proposed in April that would allow Hong Kong to extradite Hong Kong citizens to China without due process, Hong Kong locals started protesting peacefully.
The protests grew increasingly violent as the Hong Kong government seemed to ignore the protests. China began warning of its authority to intervene and displaying its ability to do so by deploying soldiers and equipment to the border between China and Hong Kong. The threats from China increased the heat in already heated confrontations between protesters and the Hong Kong police. The protestors then struck at the financial and business heart of Hong Kong by shutting down the airport for several weekends.
In recent days, Carrie Lam, the city administrator, formally withdrew the proposed extradition bill and tried to meet some of the five demands made by protestors. The general consensus seems to be, however, “too little, too late.”
Christ calls His people to be light in a world of darkness, as a city on a hill or lamp on a stand (Matt. 5:14–15). If one were to put the lamp under a bushel, it would be a useless light. Even in the most extreme circumstances, the people of God stand on the hill reflecting the Light that comes down from above.
At the same time, God does not call His people to intentionally place themselves in harm’s way. The martyr’s cross may come, but God’s people do not seek it out.
Within this tension of remaining a light unto the world and caring for LCMS missionaries serving in Hong Kong, the Asia region requests your prayers. The LCMS team members in Hong Kong remain there. They feel safe. They are not in direct danger, nor do they fear for their safety.
The current reports from agencies such as the United States Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) do not—at this time—advise withdrawing personnel from Hong Kong. The situation remains relatively safe, and the Asia team members on the ground confirm this assessment.
Meanwhile, please pray for the LCMS missionaries, the Lutheran Church — Hong Kong Synod, all Christians, and everyone involved in these matters. We ask that the Lord would provide a peaceable solution for all involved and especially that we might continue to proclaim the forgiveness of sins delivered in Word and Sacrament.
Heavenly Father, source of all power might, who has given authorities to rule over us and commanded that these authorities be subject to You, protect our missionaries and brothers and sisters in Hong Kong from the civil unrest there. May the protesters raise concerns peaceably and may the government hear and respond in good faith. In all things, may Your name be glorified and the nations return to You, that all would repent and call on You in faith; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who live and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Photo by Johanna Heidorn, LCMS Communications Specialist