GM: Donald Trump, Murder, Shame in The Church and The Light of Christ.
This week was a tumultuous one for both church and state; in Jamaica ( home) and America ( abroad).
Abroad, newly installed President Donald Trump, behaving like the proverbial, ‘Bull in a China Shop’, issued a rash of Executive Orders. One of which, a temporary ban, #alternatetivefact fact – a pause, on immigration to the US from 7 Muslim countries, even if persons had valid visas or were dual citizens of any country, and refugees from Syria indefinitely, seeking asylum in America, provoked a backlash of protests across, not just the US, but the entire world.
And worse, triggered panic, and completely unfounded fears, at least so far, certainly here in Jamaica and indeed abroad, that folks from countries outside the ‘ dirty 7’, would be also be turned back at American airports. Finally last evening word came that a Federal judge in Seattle had ruled against the executive order, thus provoking a constitutional crisis.
That’s abroad. Here in Jamaica, another egregiously wicked act, the stabbing to death of a young schoolgirl, threw a nation, once again into mourning. And placed the young Prime Minister Andrew Holness led government under further pressure to deal with this frightening crime monster!
Finally, for me, the most disturbing news this week, was the revelation coming out of an agency set up to probe sexual crimes SISOCA, that Pastors and Policemen topped the
list of individuals who were guilty of molesting young girls.
A major, major problem in our society! People representing, not just institutions created to provide care and protection for the vulnerable, but The Living God. Have mercy!
And so in the midst of this madness, prayers which I reflect on mornings and at nights, from a German mystic whose influence extended to to the famous poet John Milton, and equally famous Physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, came to my rescue, and I was led to post these messages on Facebook. Which also helped to comfort many others.
Living Lord, you have watched over me , and put your hand on my head, during the long, dark hours of night. Your holy angels have protected me from all harm and pain. To you, Lord, I owe life itself. Continue to watch over me and bless me ( and all who read this in true faith…my waords) during the hours of day – Jacob Boehme ( 1575-1624….an influential German Lutheran mystic)
One of three daily prayers. This one to be prayed ON RISING in the mornings. In Jesus precious name we pray and give thanks for a new day. Amen.
ON RISING – Jacob Boehme: The Second Morning Prayer
Rule over me this day, O God, leading me on the path of righteousness. Put your Word in my mind and your truth in my heart, that this day I neither think nor feel anything except what is good and honest.
Protect me from all lies and falsehood, helping to discern deception wherever I meet it. Let my eyes always look at right ahead on the road you wish me to tread, that I might not be tempted by any distraction. And make my eyes pure, that no false desires may be awakened within me.
In Jesus precious name I pray; for myself and all in positions of trust. Pastors, police, teachers, parents, caregivers, politicians, lawyers, journalists, managers, supervisors, colleagues…….; and also ‘ ductors’ and ‘ loadermen’, and ‘ drivas’. Amen
I thank you, O God, for your care and protection this day, keeping me from physical harm and spiritual corruption. I now place the work of the day into your hands, trusting that you will redeem my errors and turn my achievements to your glory.
And I now ask you to work within me, trusting that you will use the hours of rest to create in me a new heart and a new soul. Let my mind, which through the day has been directed to my work, through the evening be wholly directed at you – a prayer At Evening by Jacob Boehme.
One of three late evening prayers.
So, having prayed for protection in the morning, we give thanks to God in the nights. For grace and mercy!
So, having had my troubled soul soothed by inspired prayers in these challenging times, The Word of God appointed in my Church for tomorrow posed further challenges.
And as I write, words from a song we sing during Lent, which begins on March 1, came flooding into my mind. As it did last week before church.
My spirit longs for thee
within my troubled breast,
though I unworthy be
of so divine a guest.
Of so divine a guest
unworthy though I be,
yet has my heart no rest,
unless it comes from thee….
Words which are a profound commentary on life and life’s many and varied challenges. Both at home and abroad! As one of the church’s most famous sons, and he who more than anyone else influenced Western Civilization through his seminal writing in, The City of God, Bishop Augustine of Hippo, famously said, in another book, The Confessions of Augustine that:
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
And so, at a deep level, Donald Trump’s antics, which has the power to affect the entire world, even ‘ down under ‘ in Australia, and in Mexico, home of ‘ bad hombres’, is nothing more than signs of a ‘ restless soul’, that needs, and can find comfort only, when ‘ the divine guest’ enters his soul.
And so #DonaldTrumpallmexicansarerapists, so too those Pastors and Policemen who sexually assault young girls. So too those who abduct, rape and kill! Not only young girls, but men women and children! Those who engage in scamming, those involved in corruption, those who are ‘ sperm donors’, and absentee fathers!
And as the Word of God in Isaiah reveals, those who disobey The Living God. I really hope people like Donald Trump et al, and the Evangelical Christians who blindly support him, get a chance to read this contextually challenging text:
THE WORD OF GOD…ABRIDGED
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord ?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Isaiah 58:1-10 NIV
This in essence is why, deep in their hearts, people across the world know it is wrong for the ‘leader of the free world’, to turn his back on refugees; people fleeing oppression.
And why we in Jamaica will never find peace, for ( and unless) as Burchell Taylor’s profund Prayer Breakfast sermon warned:
” we ought not to handle and treat people unjustly and in turn demand and expect a just social order“
……#bankfees, #peoplelivingongullybanks, paying security guards $Ja.13000 fortnightly……growth without equity, a bane of modern societies, rooms on campus for the poor and others for the well heeled, the creation of garrison communities, alleged involvement of Policemen and political activists in scamming…..
So what is to done? A question which is keeping our policy makers, and worried mothers, up late at nights.
But the Word of God gives clear instructions; a topic on which I have been led to preach tomorrow.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
For our role as children of a Redeemer God is to allow the life of Christ to shine through us. And touch the lives of those who John the Baptist’s father, in the famous song, The Benedictus’, termed:
” To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death “. Luke 1:79.
For those who don’t know Jesus, whether in or outside of the church, whether in The White House or in the back room, whether pregnant in your face Beyonce, or a unknown refugee on the high seas, whether whistle blowing Cliff Hughes or a informer in the inner city, you are ‘ sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.’
And so we are called, as the only ultimate solution to the ‘ restless hearts of mankind’ , to present them with the ‘ divine guest ‘, Jesus Christ, The Good News that Christ died for the sins of all mankind.
As He is the Only Light in a dark world. But first we have to invite this divine guest into our troubled breast, though we ( very) unworthy be!