Forecourt, State House, Freetown, Thursday 27 April 2023 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio and First Lady, Fatima Maada Bio, have joined Sierra Leoneans and foreign diplomats to commemorate the country’s 62nd Independence Day with an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.
The ceremony brought together religious leaders from the Muslim and Christian leadership in Sierra Leone, who prayed for peace, stability, free and violence-free elections and also glorified God for His mercies on the nation and the people, as well as for keeping citizens together.
President Julius Maada Bio, while taking the scripture reading from the Book of Philippians 4:6–9, said, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! … Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”.
Sheikh Ibrahim Barrie, while preaching on the importance of the country’s Independence Day celebration, said that Allah, in Verse 13 of Chapter 49 of the Holy Quran, emphasised the rationale and objectives behind creating many tribes, ethnicities, and nations.
Allah said, “O mankind, we have created you from a single male and female. And we have made you into tribes and nations so that you may know each other’s,” the Sheikh quoted.
He went on to say that the emphasis was placed on the points that “so you may know each other, so you may interact, intermarriage, and do transactions with each other so that you may as well help each other”.
The Sheikh also referenced the concept of multi-ethnicity, tribes, and nations, calling it a blessing from Allah, one of which Sierra Leone was proud of possessing.
He pointed out that “the tribe that we have is a major source of strength, wisdom, and compliments. It is never meant by Allah, as we see in the verse, to hate, divide, or fight each other. That is why the concept of human dignity is related to the concept of coexistence. The dignity that Allah measured and gave to mankind, is for mankind to use to like each other, and help each other.
“One of the attributes of Allah is justice and equality, which are very paramount in Islam. So, as we mark this 62nd anniversary of our Independence Day, let us remind ourselves of these elements highlighted by Islam, which are human dignity, and peaceful coexistence”.
He emphasised that the independence anniversary was coming very close to an important event, the general elections.
“Let us strengthen our relationship, let us preserve our independence, dignity, and respect by strengthening the relationship between us, by avoiding that which has the tendency to disunite us as a nation,” Sheikh Barrie prayed.
Bishop Thomas Wilson, in his sermon on ‘The Peace of God,’ said bringing God’s message to the country’s 62nd Independence Day celebration was important and godly. He read from the Book of Philippians.
“Today is the 62nd Independence Anniversary of our country, Sierra Leone. We thank God Almighty for placing us on the West Coast of West Africa and for making us His special and peculiar people who are specially made, epitomising love, determination, and resilience.
“It is one thing to be grateful to God in good times, but how can we be thankful to Him for all He has done for us? Sierra Leoneans, as we celebrate our independence and as we go near to the elections, we need the peace of God to take over every region in the land that we love, our Sierra Leone.
“Our prayer with thanksgiving is that your request be made known to God. I pray that on this Independence Day, as a nation, we will make our request to God. Man will not solve our problems; only God will solve our challenges and our problems.
“Therefore, I call upon all of us to bring our issues and challenges to God, and God will intervene in His mighty name,” he ended.
The interfaith thanksgiving service was graced by the Oracle of God, author, preacher, teacher, and entrepreneur, Dr Rev. Lucy Natasha, from Kenya, one of Africa’s finest female preachers.
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