MURDERED JC STUDENT NICHOLAS FRANCIS : A DEFINING MOMENT
A life gone way too soon #NicholasFrancis #RIP @Jamaica_College @MyJCOBA savagery must end ! https://t.co/8iMgkUDejR
I went that school. Jamaica College! I took the bus, for many years, at the same bus spot where #HisNameisNicholasFrancis was stabbed, thrown out of the bus, and left to die.
At no time did we ever feel threatened on, ” Jolly Joseph “; the name given to the friendly bus service in those times. Boys fought at school. All boys fight! But at that time only with fists. Such was the nature of the times. The 1960’s!
Then at the Lecture I gave recently, Healthy Church: Healthy Nation, in the section ‘ Decisive Issues facing Christians Today, I shared an extended version of this data. Data which chronicled the dramatic change after I left ” Fervet”.
1970 – 152 died from homicide in Jamaica
1980 – 899
1990 – 543
2000 – 887
2010 – 1447 ( 2009 – 1683 the worst year on record)
This kind of data paints a graphic picture of the kind of society in which Nicholas lived and died. Way too soon!
On Monday I was led to share a message about Christian leadership in ‘ times like these ‘.
Then last night, I was awakened, not at the usual hour, but in the same manner, to read words in my Bible which had been highlighted many years ago. At a time of great distress in my life when only the Word of God could calm my soul.
” Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he”. Isaiah 2: 22.
” Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.”
Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the Lord repaying his enemies all they deserve.
“Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.
Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord . “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
For this is what the Lord says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
Isaiah 66:6-13 NIV
And finally this morning as I woke this Word entered my mind. A Word I read a few weeks ago and which reading ‘ troubled my soul’.
” Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, ” How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
1 Kings 18: 21.
In the Lecture I quoted a famous theologian and unapologetic Evangelical Anglican Priest John Stott, that ” whenever a society goes bad, it is not the fault of the society, but we Christians who are called to be ‘ salt and light’.
You may or may not agree with the statement, but what is undeniable, based on these Words from the Lord, is that we who have been rescued by the Blood of the Lamb, have to make a choice. Serve the Lord God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ completely, or serve the Devil!
And based on these Words from the Lord, we need to look deeply into our souls and determine whether we have been faithful to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? Or whether we stand accused by The Almighty God – not our thoughts on the matter – of being guilty of ‘ limping along with two different opinions’.
Each child of God, not born of human flesh, but born of ‘ the promise given to Abraham ‘ – which section of Romans I was led to read last night – will have to prayerfully reflect on this transcendental question. Whether we have been guilty of placing our trust in ‘ mere man who has but breath in his lungs’, which includes ourselves, or whichever leader of whatever sort, in whom we have entrusted our destiny, and future, as individuals, or as a nation!
A very pertinent question for the Americans in these times who are, essentially grappling with voting for the lesser of two evils. And a dilemma which has spawned, rightly or wrongly, accusations of #LyingHillary and #BigotedDonaldTrump. Especially bearing in mind the recent revelations about emails and sexual predatory behavior!
Or whether we will truly decide to ” Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our understanding” – wisdom from the book of Proverbs.
For to truly trust in God whose Kingdom is built on ” Righteous and Justice in the Holy Spirit”, means that allegiance to a political party, or leader cannot come first. Whether Democrat or Republican, PNP or JLP. Similarly, allegiance to family, or Denomination or Nation cannot come first. Nor self interest! For in Christ we are called, as another famous theologian, Bonhoeff, tells us ” to die to self”.
So that children like Nicholas can live. For in obedience to God, is ‘ a nation born in a day’, as Isaiah prophesied, heralding the mighty Salvation for all mankind wrought by Jesus on tre Cross of Calvary.
So like Joshua, children of God, in America and Jamaica, need to ” chose ye this day whom we shall serve “. God or man!
And then, in Christ, we will no longer, like Habakkuk, cry out to God:
” O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?
Or cry out to you ” Violence”! and you will not save.” 1:2.
Yes , marches and demonstrations, and policy initiatives, and police actions, and interventions by Civil Society, and prayers by the Church, even fasting have sessions, all have a role to play in rescuing our country.
But ultimately it all depends on our obedience to the God whose Word I read last night:
” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16
I pray God that all who have been the recipients of God’s mercy in the Atonement wrought by the Blood of Christ, will this day choose well. As the future of Jamaica, and America, and the entire world, depends on our obedience. For only God can, in Christ, ” extend peace to us like a river”, in a broken and troubled world in which #NicholasFrancisRIP lived and died. Way too soon!