Offering prayers in a changing world
This blog was written in response to a discussion on RJRFM94, yesterday, March 18, 2016, during a program #BeyondTheHealines hosted by #DjmillerJA. The issue of opening up Prayers in Parliament to other Religions, apart from those offered by the dominant Christian Religion, which sparked a lot of controversy, was triggered by a blog written by a human rights advocate and Susan Goffe .
@suezeecue calls 4 us to reconsider parliamentary prayer -getting reactions – what do u think? Hint-READ post first https://t.co/kAS1El9AtE
It’s an important issue given the increasingly pluralistic nature of the Jamaican society; and ‘ trending’ in many other societies, giving them, like us a lot of ‘ headaches’ as we try to deal with sometimes uncomfortable changes.
The question which arises though, is: ‘what’s the purpose of prayer’. And in the context of E. Stanley Jones’ A Divine Yes Had Sounded’, it would appear, from someone who has been Internationally recognized for his work in India and elsewhere, that although prayers from other religions might be ‘democratic’, they may be of no use.
Perhaps that’s why our slave forebears, responded overwhelmingly to the Divine Yes, who is Christ. And thus set in place the Christianization of the Jamaican society! It maybe that we tamper with our history at our peril; and certainly, at the very least, without a knowledge of the Religions which are being advocated to ‘ compete’ with, or to be added to the Divine Yes. Especially on the eve of Holy Week! Which I would suggest is not a coincidence.
How did I find this meditation by Jones? I didn’t. If ‘ found me’, also a blogger, and which latest blog on Word Press, posted this morning, features the Divine Yes, ‘ even for the greatest offender’.
https://t.co/z28R7ZocJV my baby is coming home tomorrow. Ain’t that good news #SamCooke. Better news in this blog @Petchary @souldancing
THE DIVINE YES HAS SOUNDED
E. STANLEY JONES ( 1884-1973….Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he received seven honorary doctorates and write 29 books….. An evangelist to Indian intellectuals, Jones was acquainted with Mahatma Ghandi, Jawaharla Nehru….his preaching in his numerous worldwide evangelistic crusades was marked by His advocacy of the uniqueness of Christ, the Gospel and church Union.)
Verse: 2. Cor. 1:20
” For in Him every one of God’s promises is a ” Yes “. Fir this reason it is through him that we say the ” Amen”, to the Glory of God.
Call the roll of the ancient philosophies – and the modern – and they all come out to a No. The note of pessimism about life sounds in them all. Take Buddhism: Buddha, in his meditation under the Bo tree at Gaya, India came to the startling conclusion:
” Existence and suffering are one”, inextricably bound up together. The only way to get out of suffering is to get out of life. So cut the root of desire and become desireless, even for life, and then you can go out into that state, literally, ” out of the snuffed candle ” – Nirvana.
This is the most decisive No ever uttered about life. And yet hundreds of millions cling to this cling to this vast No as emancipation, for they feel life is saying the same, life is a No.
Take the Vendanta philosophy, the outstanding philosophy of of India. It says you are to lose your separate individual personality and be absorbed into the impersonal essence, called Brahma.
So you as a person are wiped out – like a raindrop you are lost in the ocean of the impersonal. It, too, is a vast No.
Take Islam : Fundamentally Islam means submission – submission to the sovereign will of God. Your will is gone; his will is all. For all intents and purposes the individual is swamped in the divine. This too is a vast No.
Take Stoicism: To shut out sorrow and suffering, the Stoic had to shut out love and pity too, for if love and pity came in, then sorrow and suffering would come trooping in behind. This, too is a vast No to the ” greatest thing in the world ” – love.
Schopenhauer, the apostle of pessimism, seated on a park bench was asked by a policeman who thought him a tramp: ” Who are you, and what are you here for”? Schopenhauer replied sadly, ” I wish I knew “. His was a No – a sad question mark. The loudest and saddest No that has been been sounded on our planet is the latest: ” God is dead “. It is not only a No to life, but to God, the author of life; both God and life are dead. This is the nadir of the No.
Now in the midst of this world chorus of No, at last – at long last, – ” the divine ‘yes’ has sounded.” And Jesus is that Yes.