Michael Jackson’s iconic song ‘ Gone too soon’, captured the mood and reaction in Jamaica, and in the UK, following the shocking news of Germaine Mason’s death this week.
For he was a young man, only 34, who had achieved much on the International stage as a high performance athlete . An elite high jumper was he; and one who represented Jamaica and then the UK, and won medals at the World Games and the Olympics.
And as I write, into my mind came this old song written in 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, and in tribute also to ( mentioned in different verses of the song) Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy; all of whom suffered the same fate.
Anybody here, seen my old friend Abraham —
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
As in my mind arose the great transcendental question of all ages…gone where? A question I have been thinking about of late, as an avid sports fan, having been hugely entertained over the years by the likes of Messi, Serena, Curry, ( I know of the influence of Bolt’s parents and #RealShellyAnn’s faith). And even the political and musical icons of our time! When they die, having ‘ conquered the world ‘, where do they go?
Which, put a different way, and applied to another context, the hot issue in Jamaica about disciplining our children and corporal punishment; discipline to what end? And for what ultimate purpose!
Because if we have collective agreement on that question, then the kind of ‘ murderation’, severe, sustained, physical, emotional and mental abuse, about which we heard, and probably gasped, on #RJRBTH hosted by #djmiller has no place in our society. Which is however, a far different approach to discipline, than ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’; and which approach finds favor with many Jamaicans. A sentiment shared by the victim himself, as he made the distinction between the two, although not quoting the Bible.
All of this emerging, in the context of an increasingly violent society, changing values and attitudes in the homes and schools, the ban on corporal punishment in schools, and a very live debate about whether or not it should also be banned in the home.
Amidst all of this reflection and #doublelistening to man and God, I was inspired to post a few messages on Facebook this week.
All of which expand in some way on the central theme of our need as ‘ helpless human beings’, for the mercy and power of God to intervene in our lives. For His Glory!
And for all who are baptised to sing in a ” thousand voices ” about the precious Name of Jesus. So that others who we meet on life’s journey may come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Before it’s too late!
Knock, knock, who’s there?..No it’s not Serena, not Step Curry, not Rhianna, not Bob Marley, Obama, not Destra, not #Adi…but:
1 Hark, my soul, it is the Lord;
’tis thy Saviour, hear his word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
‘Say, poor sinner, lovest thou me?
For it is only the Lord Jesus who is always searching for us, lost sinners. First verse of a great hymn #earlymorningdevotions…and captures succinctly, virtually all we need to know about Christianity.
The second verse is all about Good Friday and Easter….and third verse is super special….Can a mother forget her child….Yes, but never Jesus…
And the last line of the last verse places such a bookend on it all: ‘ O for grace to love thee more’.
The only solution for the headlines this morning, the newscast last night, and the ones to come tomorrow, for as Ian Boyne said ” It’s not the economy stupid ” #GleanerInFocus it’s the culture ‘ which is gone adrift’ #BTHbookworms
Death stalks the land; in our homes, in the community and on the roads. Gunmen, cancer and ‘ accidents’!
For many, the past and present promises of prosperity and progress are but dreams. A nation struggles to bring up disciplined children. Without abuse! But with a firm hand. While resisting bureaucratic ‘ overreach! And the music, once ‘ conscious ‘, is no longer helpful. At best! The Church, once the ‘ glue’ that held us together, now irrelevant for some, now unappealing for others, ‘ give us Barrabas.’ …. ‘ give us silver and gold’, struggles to keep the faith, and the faithful, in a time of modernity, ‘ prosperity gospel’, and Netflix, amidst a steady loss of focus on the Cross. And Christ Crucified!
Many once looked to ‘ greener pastures’, but the doors are closing, with a loud ‘ trumpet’ sound, and the once ‘ still waters’ now increasingly muddied by terror.
Then I opened my Devotional Bible early this morning, as I awoke at an unusual hour, and found an answer to our dilemma.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears
And bids our sorrows cease.
O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING
Verse: Psalm 19 The heavens declare the glory of God…..
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My dear Redeemers praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumph of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim
And spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of thy name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears
And bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life and health and peace.
It’s a prayer, and a hope that should be spread abroad in our land. By #AThousandtongues #Hanoverbleeding #StJamesbleeding #Clarenodonbleeding #Jamaicableeds And beyond! To troubled lands #Paris. Help us O God! For we cannot manage. Can’t even walk without you holding our hands!
A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies. People who blithely go through life too busy, or too indifferent to ask hard questions why they believe as they do, will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy, or the probing questions of a smart skeptic…..
Skeptics must learnt to look for a type of faith hidden within their reasoning. All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs.
You cannot doubt Belief A except from a position of faith in Belief B. For example if you doubt Christianity because “There can’t just be one true religion, ” you must recognize that this statement is itself an act of faith”
No one can prove it empirically, and it is not a universal truth that everyone accepts……
Extract from New York Times best selling author Rev Timothy Keller’s, The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
…still reading a good book after Lent
Not a Jamaican author but a good read for #BTHbookworms Dionne Jackson Miller Emily Shields
In a land where Skepticism about God and Church and Christianity is alive and kicking….us adrift. #Hanoverbleeding
Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship……It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son……
In such a religion there is trust in God, but no following of Christ…..Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian and Christian martyr who defied the Hitler and his evil empire. Paid the ultimate price.
Identifies a major problem in Jamaica where most people believe in ‘ Father God’, but have no intention of following Christ. Both inside and outside The Church!