Elections come and go but Lent is a time for all Seasons

THE SEASON OF LENT CONTINUES:  THE SEASON OF ELECTION 2016 IS NOW HISTORY.

The increasingly popular New International Version ( NIV)  of the Bible says that:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for everything under  heaven…..Ecclesiastes 3:1

So following my understanding of another  very important verse in the Bible:

Also seek the  peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you in exile ( the Biblical understanding is that, for Christians, this earth is not our home).  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7-8

I engaged my patients during this election season,  encouraging them to get involved in helping to decide, in a sense, the future of their country. ” Choose one”, I told them.
( Would you believe, and I am serious as a judge, that a long time patient whose sister shares the messages with her, just linked me, as I began writing, that I ‘ called the elections’ from May, when I used the verse in another context. I just had to respond…. lol.  For as far as she is concerned, and I know she was joking,  Prosperity is indeed found in the Bible. Have mercy!

The elections are all done now. But Lent, a time for serious introspection about our spiritual journey, in a sense, not only continues, but ought to be part of our life long journey with Jesus until we die.

And last night I posted the following quotation on my Facebook page. One which speaks to both ‘seasons’. Elections and our Christian journey.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools – Martin Luther King Jnr.   #JLPPNP

Then this morning a hymn for all seasons presented itself to me – I was looking for another one. Words which encourage us to  make God our Vision. Not our favourite political party, or Leader. And in this context,  there is no place for ‘ following Bustamante until I die’…or Portia, or Eddie, or Michael, or PJ, or Bruce, or now Andrew.

Words which speak about true ‘ Wisdom’, true ‘ Shelter’ for our souls as the battle rages around us,  and ‘ the emptiness of ‘ man’s praise’.

Words which caution us to ‘ beware of  going after riches’, advise us Who ought to be ‘ first in our heart’, and finally words which point us to ‘ victory’, the Judgement which awaits us all.

A Word definitely for all Seasons!

I pray God that this kind of Word will find much favor in the hearts of our people,  as like my patient, we,  with even greater enthusiasm than that which gripped many during the elections, share this message with others.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
be thou my soul’s shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven’s bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.
Words: Ancient Irish hymn;
trans. Mary Byrne, 1905,

Finally a word for all of us who live on this planet. For fear, disappointment, trials and even disaster, are universal experiences. Transcending political barriers, cultural differences and geographical boundaries. And the God of All Seasons knows the fears of all our hearts, beginning with mine, and sends a word for us in season. One which I happened on last night,  as I did my devotions before commiting myself and all ‘ under my tent’ to God’s grace and mercy during the long night.

BE STILL,  MY HEART

John Newton ( a former slave ship owner who encountered Christ, repented of his sins, and eventually became a priest)

Verse: Hebrews 10:22

Be still, my heart! these anxious cares
To  thee are burdens, thorns and snares;
They cast dishonor on the Lord,
And contradict his gracious word.

Brought safely by his hand thus far,
why wilt thou now give place to fear?
How canst thou want if he provide,
or lose thy way with such a guide?

When first before his mercy-seat
thou didst to him thine all commit;
he gave thee warrant from that hour
to trust his wisdom, love and power.

Did ever trouble yet befall,
and he refuse to hear thy call?
and has he not his promise passed,
that thou shalt overcome at last?

He who has helped me hitherto
will help me all my journey through,
and give me daily cause to raise
new hymns  ( new Ebenezers) of glory to his praise.

Though rough and thorny be the road,
it leads thee home apace to God:
then count thy present trials small,
for heaven will make amends for all.

I close with an understanding of Ebenezer which is used in some versions of this wonderful hymn/poem.
It’s a Word from the Prophet Samuel:
‘Thus far has the Lord carried us’

So thus far has the Lord carried us here in  Jamaica, and He who began a good thing many years ago with Sam Sharpe and others, and more importantly, He who began a good thing in Christ Jesus on the Cross of Calvary,  will one day bring everything to completion. Then will all Seasons will come to an  end, including Lent. Until then, let us strive to make God and His Son Christ our soon Coming King, our Vision.
Peace.

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