I read my Bible to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing – John Newton
Lord renew thy church beginning with me; Lord renew the church that the church may renew the nation(s) – A Prayer for the Decade of Evangelism.
During this past week my mind was entirely focused on the two events to come over the weekend. Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But yet other news caught my attention. In general news of suffering and pain.
1.South Korea ferry disaster: Families’ anger erupts
After more than three days, divers have now finally entered the ferry, retrieving 26 bodies and bringing the death toll to 58.
However, another 244 people are still missing from the Sewol ferry, which sank on Wednesday.
Some 174 passengers were rescued.
The link and the quote from the BBC newsfeed tells the story of pain and suffering. What it omits is the fact that the VP of the school from which so many of students came, committed suicide. What a tragedy!
2.Calgary cop’s son charged in mass killing
In the worst mass killing in Calgary’s history, five young adults were stabbed to death during a Brentwood house party.
The accused, the son of a senior Calgary Police Service officer still in hospital as of Tuesday night over concerns of his mental state, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
“The scene was horrific,” said a visibly shaken police chief Rick Hanson at a press conference, adding each victim was stabbed several times.
The killings happened at a house party celebrating Bermuda Shorts Day at the University of Calgary, and the accused in custody is the son of a senior police officer, Insp. Doug de Grood, a 33-year veteran.
The accused is 23-year-old Matt de Grood.
The last entry on his Facebook account read: “Dread and the fugitive mind- the world needs a hero” apparently referencing two Megadeth songs.
Yet another tragedy that happened during Holy Week. And we know in Jamaica how the ‘devil let loose’ during Lent, and therefore how much more active he would be as Good Friday approached.
3. Nearer to that which occupies a lot of my time and energy was another heart breaking event which happened this week. This time in California.
10 Killed in Bus Crash; Southern California High School Students Aboard
Investigators are trying to determine what went wrong on a Northern California highway Thursday night, when a delivery truck crossed into oncoming traffic and slammed into a bus carrying prospective college students from Southern California, leaving 10 people dead.
California Highway Patrol officials and other public safety personnel said at a news conference Friday morning that nine people died at the scene of Thursday’s crash and a 10th victim died at a hospital. Those killed included five students and five adults who were traveling to Humboldt State University for a campus visit. Thirty-one victims were hospitalized after the crash.
THE WORD OF GOD
So what inspired word or Word did The Lord lead me to read and reflect on and write about this week, as we approached the most holy period in the calendar of the Christian Church.
THE FIRST MESSAGE
Good Friday changed the world forever – Lead Stories – Jamaica …
THE SECOND MESSAGE – sent to my children who live abroad in a land where there are no public holidays to facilitate the kind of intense worship that we are privileged to have in Jamaica. A Message which came during my devotions.Bookmarked by a challenging Word of God and a reassuring hymn, the word of which share a promise which only the events of Good Friday and Easter could possibly validate. About the words of a song which came into my head and which I had not seen not heard for a while. And another one which we sing in Jamaica regularly ‘ in season and out of season’.
Sent for your reflections on a day when you may not have that much time to worship.
Then everyone deserted him and fled. (Mark 14:50 NIV)…last night
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NIV)…this morning
YOUR ONLY SON, NO SIN TO HIDE
YOUR GIFT OF LOVE THEY CRUCIFIED
O LAMB OF GOD SWEET LAMB OF GOD
I WAS SO LOST I SHOULD HAVE DIED
O LAMB OF GOD SWEET LAMB OF GOD
What can wash away my sin?
Oh! precious is the flow
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
THE THIRD MESSAGE
The next substantive message was one sent to members of my church after some words shared during a sermon on Good Friday stayed in my head, and triggered this response.
This wonderful hymn was referenced by young Rev. Larius Lewis during ” The Seven Words of the Cross” today. And during which sermon on ” Today you shall be with me in Paradise”, he suggested that if the thief on the cross could be assured of entering Paradise with Jesus, because he repented, unlike the other one, and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, then anyone can get to heaven…..” and as they say in the country, even dog, puss and rat”. And therefore we must be careful of ‘writing off ” people because we think that we are good and they are evil.
Off course we are always mindful of the issue of cheap grace, and Bonhoeffer speaks a word about it in the link below which I placed on my facebook page during this ‘conversation’.
622. There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
Text: William Cowper, 1731-1800
2. The dying thief rejoiced to see
3. Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
4. E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
5. Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
THE FOURTH MESSAGE – this time sent to people of power in my country. And which prayer was blogged and triggered a posting on Twitter, and hence sent all over the world, by a friend, Christian sister, and Blogger, Jean Lowrie-Chin. The results of which collaborative efforts only God will determine. And we do not need to know or concern ourselves with it either.
Message and Prayer from Dr Lucien Jones:
Final Comment: I share two thoughts I heard today. One by Rev. Dr. Garnett Roper a theologian who heads up the Jamaica Theological Seminary, and for his ‘sins’ is also the Chairman of the Public Transport Body in Jamaica, the JUTC. He shared the view during a radio broadcast this morning on RadioJamaica 94FM, that without (the assurances of new birth and promises of eternal life….my words) the worldview that Christianity offers, without Jesus Christ and Him Crucified and raised from the dead, life does not make any sense. And he then referenced the continued and heart breaking story of Flight 370, and that all evidence so far points to fact that 239 persons are most like dead and on their remains lie at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, to add weight to his point. How do the families of these dead souls, cope if not for the assurances that Christianity offers? And I thought further, that if the Vice Principal of the school in Korea where so many of his students died, has really understood Jesus’ offer as posed in the earlier message, ” “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”, he would be alive today.
The second one comes from the sermon shared this morning at my church, by Canon. Major Sirano Kitson. He was speaking about Easter, and in Whom we are to place our trust, because of the Risen Christ. So therefore, even when we are tempted to be distraught because the Minister of Finance has decided to place a tax on any money withdrawn from the bank, we are to remember the One who is faithful to us in all situations and circumstances. The he shared the words of hymn with us, which we sang together, and hopefully will pledge to keep the assurances before us each and every day, ‘ in season and out of season’, long after Good Friday and Easter would have passed. All because Jesus lives!
God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And then one day, I’ll cross the river,