TRUMP: AMERICA FIRST. REV. TAYLOR : HUMAN DIGNITY FIRST. GOD: LOVE AND MERCY TO ALL IN CHRIST JESUS
This week two events dominated the news in America and held my interest in Jamaica.
#InaugurationDay2017 and #Prayerbreakfast2017
One quote from Time Magazine captured, to my mind, the essence and isolationist, if not xenophobic and perhaps even jingoistic ( a term once only applied to China) compared to Obama’s qualified exceptionalism, nature, of #PresidentTrump speech.
“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First. America First.”
And having had not only the privilege of attending the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast with my wife, but being in receipt of the script of Rev. Dr. Burchell Taylor’s sermon, I tweeted sections which in my view, went to the heart of his presentation :
We have an abiding commitment to uphold defend and promote in all we say and do the immeasurable worth and sanctity of human dignity #BT
We have an abiding commitment to create and sustain a culture of self giving solidarity with those who suffer and wounded in community #BT
We have an abiding commitment to develop and display thoughtful maturity in our ways and dealings -key expression of this is humility #BT
If we overlook the link between justice as a policy issue and the dignity of human beings we will not achieve the common good. #BT
We ought not to handle and treat people unjustly and in turn expect a just social order #RevTaylor
#BurchellTaylor Compassion (Mercy) is saying that the response to deserved suffering does not end with retribution but is rehabilitative
True humility in the form of thoughtful maturity liberates us to admit our dependence on others…..cont’d
#BurchellTaylor…cont’d True humility encourages shared purpose and a willingness to make peace and work for reconciliation
We are called to commit ourselves to an ethic of public engagement towards the common good and human flourishing #BurchellTaylor
So while the ” leader of the free world”, seemingly, on the face of it, elected to begin by focusing on what was good for America alone, one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated thinkers and theologian, begged and pleaded Jamaican leaders to seek the common good, by placing a focus on the dignity of human beings.
What a contrast! What a challenge, even as some, oblivious of the genesis and success of the NLPB, in respect of the violent elections which were once the norm in Jamaica, called for a canceling of this great institution. Consequent on the very shameful and disgraceful behaviour of one, and maybe more Pastors, in the Moravian Church. A thorough misreading of history by people whose lens have been clouded, no doubt understandably, by anger and disappointment.
And so as America lurches forward under President Trump into new and uncharted waters, my country is drowning in sea of blood. As 79 persons have been murdered in 20 days. 12 in a 36 hour period.
A situation which provoked one of our leading talk show host #EmilyShields, on #RJRHOTLINE, capturing succinctly the sentiments of many Jamaicans, to tweet:
I am so tired of having people describe the crime problem or say what causes the murders. When will we deal with it?
In the midst of all of this the following thoughts and revelations came into my head.
One, during my night time devotions now going through Proverbs: that, like Trump who keeps ignoring diplomacy, ignoring the inherent dignity of refugees and immigrants, making light of #Blacklivesmatter, and having fun breaking down what others have carefully built up, all in pursuit of
#makeamericagreatagain; and that Moravian pastor who ignored his own conscience, and no doubt the advice of his peers, all in pursuits of his own pleasures, one day trouble will arrive.
For the Word of God warns:
One who is often reproved yet remains stubborn will suddenly be broken beyond healing. Pro. 29:1 not just #Trump or #pastor #All #contrite
For there’s no doubt that one day Trump et al will get his ‘ comeuppance ‘. In the same way that trouble has visited the Moravian pastor and his church!
And at a different level altogether, those who persist in causing mayhem in my country, and those who aid and abet them, will, one day, suddenly be broken beyond healing.
For though we take no pleasure in the death of anyone, subject to proper investations, it would appear that the six men, included alleged murderers wanted by the police, who died recently during a shoot out with the security forces, may be a case in point.
Further, that, and this in keeping with Rev. Taylor’s declaration that mercy does not eliminate the need for sanctions: there is a consequence for the everyone, including the church members, for the abuse of young girls, and a warning for those who condemn the church, but ignore their own sins and culpability before God. This in the form of a challenging Word from Holy Scripture.
” For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those do not obey the Gospel of God”. 1 Peter 4:17.
The end of a very challenging Word which came to me during another early morning awakening this week.
And a Word which so contextually relevant. At the beginning at at the end. For this is how it begins:
THE WORD OF GOD
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.
As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
Finally, as we contemplate the value of the Rev. Taylor’s recommended ethic of working for the common good in pursuit of creating a society where human beings flourish; as we dare to hope that one day we will become a just society rather than #makeamericagreatagain; as we beg and plead with our people to put their trust in a God whose foundations are Love and Mercy according to one of Chris Tiegreen’s
meditation I read this week; as we heed Rev. Taylor’s declaration that Mercy and Justice are indivisible, and that the end of mercy is not retribution but rehabilitation and redemption – especially for #thepastor and folks like #DonaldTrump; as we ponder the thought which came into my head whilst walking and meditating, that ‘ it is a good thing that it was not Mother Theresa who died on the Cross with Jesus, but representatives of flawed humanity’ #thethiefonthecross, and therefore seeking and doing mercy is the best choice, we can understand a quote which I read ( and tweeted …devoid of any punctuation) this week, and the source of such a revelation.
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all ways you can, to all the people you can, in all the places you can, as long as you can.
John Wesley- the English Evangelist
The source: For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph.2:10.NIV https://t.co/0wW5C0Mi55
A Word again which is the end and climax of a passage of Scripture I was led to read this week. A Word of great instruction and revelation about the history of all mankind and God’s Love and Mercy.
THE WORD OF GOD
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:1-5, 8-9 NIV
A clarion call for all people ( to do good to all people…. and not to use them for personal, financial, or political gain……for that’s what we were created to do…good) not just Christians! In Donald Trump’s divided and embittered America, and Rev. Dr. Taylor’s embattled Jamaica.
For then, and only then will we create a just society and not just a great society. And the building up of such a society surely begins with a pursuit of Justice for all, and is sustained by a love for mercy and acts of forgiveness – the essence of the mind of Christ Himself who died in the words of a famous hymn written by the same John Wesley ” And can it be….”
The third verse:
He left his Father’s throne above –
so free, so infinite his grace –
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
for, O my God, it found out me!