Brazilian and Caribbean and American people have ‘ lost their minds ‘….lick them head

If what was  reported yesterday morning in one of our daily newspapers is correct, then the Brazilians have gone mad. And can  justifiably be  accused of having committed sporting ‘ blasphemy ‘. This was the headline:
” A Brazilian journalist says that Usain   Bolt is more popular in Brazil than Pele”!  Seriously!


Makes me wonder if they are talking about  Edson   Arantes do Nascimento; the  Portuguese name for the greatest player ever to play #TheBeautifulGame 
For me, a former Track Captain for my High School at ‘ Champs ‘, the greatest schoolboy and girls competition in the entire world, and one who played on a winning Manning Cup Team – championship high school competition in Jamaica – and a  lover of  Brazillian Football ( even after the 7:1 drubbing) such a comparison ought  not to be   even close if a poll were taken.
Though I was not there, I can still recall the 17 year  old football genius, playing against Sweden in 1958, controlling the ball on his chest, then on to his thigh,  then pivoting majestically  and  lashing the ball into the very well protected Swedish goal, to help Brazil win 5:2 in the finals.
The over 1000 goals scored, the jinking runs, the feints, the control at high speeds,  the header which brought out the best in the English goalkeeper Banks – arguably one of the finest goal keepers –  during the world cup held in Britain; considered one of the great all time saves.
The joy and emotional satisfaction that this superb athlete almost guaranteed anyone who watched him play week after week for Santos in Brazil, and then on the world stage every four years.
For me the crowning moment was when,  together with thousands of Jamaican- Brazilians we watched the demolition of Italy,  in a pulsating samba style World Cup Finals at The National Arena in 1970 – back in the day.  When Pele, having already scored,  delivered the final ‘killer’ pass to his captain, who fittingly,  scored the final goal in their famous 4:1 victory in the massive Estadio Azteca in Mexico 
Now don’t get me wrong, like all Jamaicans I have joined the  #GoneCrazyOverBolt club. And will jump and shout and #FeelAlright when he wins again in #Rio2016 on the weekend.  There is no question that this superb Jamaica superstar is the greatest sprinter in history. Even when his achievements are compared,  very respectfully, with  the likes of Jesse Owens et al. 
But winning and bringing joy to a Nation every four years at the Olympics and two years at The World Games and participating occasionally in the Diamond League, in my mind cannot compare with a Pele who brought joy to so many in Brazil, with his exploits week after week. And won three world cup medals in one of the most gruelling and hotly contested competitions in the world.
 No folks, I love Usain,  and will knock ‘ pot cover’  for he and Shellyann and others, but methinks Brazillians ought to  love Pele more. Much more than Bolt! 
So what does this have to do with Christ and Him Crucified? Everything! For like the Brazilians,  who appear to have ‘ forgotten all that Pele did for them’ …..’ lick them head’, as we say in Jamaica, so too like the Children of Israel ‘ a whole generation of Jamaicans, and Americans, have grown up not knowing or have forgotten ‘ lick them head’, what The Lord had done for us! 
And so as the Prophet Hosea warned then, and which warning is still a propos for us here at this time: Hear the word of the Lord , you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: 
“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.   There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.  
 Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away.
So my friends, there is divine connection between Crime and Violence, including Murder,  in Jamaica and in America and disobedience to the Word of God. A connection which was prophesied centuries ago. And which Prophetic Word was fulfilled in the time of the children of Israel and now in our time.
All because of disobedience, ‘ lick we head’!  And it is not just a  matter of forgetting how God in His Mercy rescued us from Slavery and Colonial Rule, in the USA and the Caribbean. But more, much more! 
The kind of mercy which is best expressed by the words of the hymn writer,  which played a seminal role in the genesis of this long standing Internet Ministry.
” My God I love thee; not because 

I hope for heaven thereby,

nor yet because who love thee not

are lost eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me

upon the Cross embrace;

for me didst bear the nails and spear,

and manifold disgrace,
and griefs and torments numberless,

and sweat of agony;

yea, death itself – and all for me

who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesu Christ,

should I not love thee well…..  
Unless of course we either did not know or understand this great act of mercy. Or, a ‘ whole generation ‘ of Jamaicans and Americans have grown not knowing what Jesus has done for us. Or just ‘ lick them head’ when they consider Politicians more important than God. Or Family. Or our sporting heroes. Or money, the job or entertainment or pleasures of this life …..’ a body to die for…..I will follow Bustamante….or Manley…..or Trump……til I die
No doubt that’s why I was so struck by the Gospel reading in my Church for this Sunday. “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!  Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? 
No, I tell you, but division. 

 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.  

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
The point here is that, if you think that discussions and arguments about our sporting icons will cause divisions in our nations, those will be of no consequence compared with the Cosmic Divisions caused by 

 those who accept Christ as Savior and those who ignore this offer of Grace from The Almighty God.
An act of mercy which spawned this popular sanke:
At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light

And the burden of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day
And from which reality many of us have turned away, ‘ lick them head’ and put their trust in gods – like ‘Dudus’ and Kartel, and dancehall and Soca music…..I was once a good girl, …but now I loose…..and Lotto…..the list goes on…… that our forefathers and fathers did not know.

Therefore Jamaica mourns and so  does America – where Netflix and Google are now gods. And Sin is now a human right……with growing influence on the Caribbean #BelizeVerdict.
I close with a quote in a very profound message sent to me last night by one of the newest members of this Ministry
”  He’s God and He’s good at it so trust Him ‘.
And this good and gracious God is still calling:
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling. Calling for you and for me.

Why should you linger when Jesus is calling, 

calling O sinner come home.

Come home, come home

All ye who are weary come home…..
Especially for those who ‘ lick them head’. For Jesus famously came not for the ‘ righteous’ ( woe unto you who believe that righteousness comes from good works) but to call sinners ( those who know they can’t manage without Him) to repentance. And that reality constitutes the greatest division on earth!  For on the Day of Judgement some will be with Him, while others will be left behind.



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