Leaving the debate about #RankingPumpkin ( she came in second), and men wearing #rompers ( the new fashion statement for men), I journeyed across the island, last Friday, to Montego Bay, the tourist capital of Jamaica.
And spent a deeply spiritually rewarding weekend at #HealingConference2017!
A gathering of mostly Anglicans, with a sprinkling of other denominations, going on now for over forty years. A weekend of teaching, fellowship, prayers, worshiping, and testimonies. Climaxing in a deeply moving Healing Service on the Sunday morning, when ‘ healing hands’, anointed and empowered by God, are laid on persons. And who then receive healing according to the power and timing of a Sovereign God.
The first night, Friday night, was ‘ youth night’. Led by vibrant young Rev. Michael Elliott from Portmore. Missed it unfortunately as I arrived too late – long story. But from all reports his presentation ‘ why are you here ‘, among other things, set the stage perfectly for the working out of a Theme: God’s Healing; Turning the hearts of Individuals Nations and the World.
Next up was the early morning devotions led by a team from the Bahamas – they have been coming for over ten years.
Following which, one of the highlights of Healing Conference, the sharing of Testimomies, took centerfold.
And after the Healing Service on Sunday morning, reluctantly, very reluctantly, I went back down into the ‘ demon possessed Valley ‘, of mothers ‘ pimping their daughters’, and gunmen chasing a mother and son; killing them both.
So what revelations, teaching, thoughts and prayers accompanied me back to Kingston.
That the Sovereign God, who may seem to be silent while we are going through our ‘ valley of the shadow of death’, always stands in solidarity with us. For it is He who assures us that, ” Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us, all the days of our lives…..”.
That the unity of Scripture affords us a panoramic view of the Sovereign God who is always there for us when trouble comes. Even and especially when it comes suddenly.
That righteousness is the very essence of the nature and character of God. And is very closely linked to justice! And if we wish for our nation to be placed on a path of healing, we have to take care of, the widow, the orphan and the stranger”, viz the vulnerable and the downtrodden and those who society abuse and treat unjustly.
” So, if the community of faith wants justice to “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” there must be first of all repentance of sin at a personal and communal level and the commitment to consistency of living between our professed faith and our deeds, finding expression also in advocacy for those who are being denied justice within the society. But we must understand this call to repentance and renewal will not resonate with the entire society as it speaks to the quality and nature of human relations in community which are informed by faith in God and a consequent commitment to incarnate a life of moral rectitude which reflects the very nature of God.”
That Healing takes place in community. That we need each other. For it is the prayers and acts of kindness of others, that sustain us when God appears to be silent.
So let us jettison overboard any concept of an ‘ individual ‘, Christian with his or her personal relationship with God, worshiping God in the privacy of their homes. Church then becomes, not only a place to worship, but where we fellowship with each other, build each other up; and go out to show mecy to others. In word and deed!
Thus lifting up the Name of Jesus. To the glory of God!
That the end of our story, regardless of how grave the challenge may be, is still be written by a Sovereign and Compassionate God.
That Jesus turned to His Father, in His final hours before He died, and prayed for those who God had given to Him.
And that Jesus, having received them, gave them back to God. The owner of all mankind and of creation. We too, therefore, ought to follow that example. That we own nothing in this life. Not our car. Not our house. Not our business. Not our ministry. And most importantly, certainly not the church. Pastors beware! And not even our own life.
For it is the Sovereign God who owns everything. And who then deserves all the honor and the glory and the praise.
That when unfettered, Anglicans worship with passion, and awe, and joy. Yes joy! It was a sight to behold.
That a weekend of glorious singing,
‘ For it is Jesus, yes it is Jesus……if I can just touch the hem of his garment…..can fill you with so much peace and joy. Sufficient to ‘ full your cup’, for months to come. Just praising God.
That a weekend of Praise and Thanksgiving and Wrestling with God in Prayer, invites the very Presence of God to be felt in an awesome manner ” in the House”. Praise God.
So Healing of hearts and minds and souls and bodies took place over the weekend. Not because we were pious, or holy. Not because of the intensity of our prayers. Not because of the beauty of the singing. But because God was in the House. And all made possible because of the Blood of Christ shed on Calvary. Thus opening a new way for mankind to be still. And know God
That, a nation desperately in need of healing from crime and violence, corruption and hopelessness, needs to understand that the answer to our problems lies in how we cherish, shape and nurture, this community called Jamaica. That we do in fact need each other. Regardless of what ‘ power we may think we have’. And which power only belongs to a Sovereign God, who can, in a brief moment relieve us from any authority. Whether we sport green or orange vests; trod in Tivoli or Waterhouse; live in #ClarendonFlooded, mourn in #Trelawnybleeding or #Hanoverbleeding, have thousands of followers on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, rule daytime, afternoon or night radio, rate high on the stockmarket, or run tings in the dancehall.
A perspective which we need to hold dearly as we consider the cries of our brothers and sisters in Venezuela, Syria and Iraq. Community matters. Dearly! As a ‘ so de ting set’ by a Sovereign and Compassionate God.
Then this morning, with a heart still overflowing with the wonder and Glory of God, this wonderful song came pouring into, and out of my soul. ” His own Presence to cheer and to guide”.
Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!