Today is the last day for voting in the South Sudan Independence Referendum.
This morning's reading from Isaiah 43 touched me as I prayed for the South Sudanese people, many of them scattered by violence to other countries. Our culture tends to read the Bible for "personal spirituality," but in the South Sudanese and others we see it read as it was first proclaimed, the living word of God to a group of people.
Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
May their efforts to build a new way of life be blessed. Their flag is poignant:
Black is the color of the people.
Red is the color of blood, remembering many lost lives.
Green is the color of a potentially abundant land.
Blue is the color of the life-giving Nile River.
The star represents the unifying of South Sudanese states into one nation; some say it is like the Epiphany Star of Bethlehem that drew people from near and far to salvation.
And finally, just sneaking in with thin lines, White is the color of peace. May it come to their land.