It’s midnight in Jamaica: #RJRFM94 news on Thursday evening on #BeyondTheHeadlines revealed that June was the bloodiest month since 2010. 141 persons murdered up to Tuesday ( 27th) of this week. 712 dead Vs. 593 last year this time.
If this is not a national crisis, then I don’t know what else could ever be so described. Precious human beings. Made in the image and likeness of their Creator. Cut down mercilessly. Wiped off the face of the earth. Ushered prematurely into another place. Never to return again. Leaving loved ones and friends devastated. With a lives never to be the same again. And a country tottering on the brink of anarchy, as appearing on our television screens, are images of gunmen firing shots in broad daylight. In the middle of a major tourist resort.
And as we prayed for Divine Intervention, and worked and argued together, in the Parliament to pass Crime Bills, which hopefully will make a difference, all hell, literally, #AlkalineVideos broke loose on social media this week.
Then spilled over into mainstream media when news broke that the police were carrying out an investigation. To determine if police officers and a security company were involved in the production of these highly controversial videos.
You can watch them on YouTube if you wish. I don’t plan to. At least not in its entirety. “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life”. Proverbs. Scarface and Godfather did enough damage to my soul years ago!
The clips on TV are sufficient. Along with commentary. For me to form an opinion that we don’t need famous influential artistes to be glorifying and celebrating gun violence. Not when #Jamaicableeding. Not anytime.
For although art and music need some level of freedom to thrive, there must be some attendant responsibility.
For what we are facing is a national crisis. Not just a flare up in violence. Not just the bloodiest month in 7 years. But an erosion of any regard for the sanctity of human life! A cultural shift that has been long in the making. And which deterioration in our society will take decades to turn around.
This is not the time, in my view, when the barbarians are not just advancing to the gates of the city, but are pouring in by the hordes to kill and main, therefore to be defending freedom of art. Freedom of expression. As if it is not time for radical surgery, but for dressing a minor bruise.
And so guided by The Holy One of Israel I wrote. And prayed. And pleaded. For a different song to be played. And a different narrative to be read. So that my country may be rescued from madness. And evil!
And a casual reaction to murder most foul. Dutty criminals or not. Goat thieves or not. Scammers or not. Revenge or not.
For the God that I serve declares that, ” I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that they turn and be saved”.
And if we leave them ” to kill off one another”. Who do you think they will turn to next?
So where’s the hope!
Martin Luther king Jr wrote many ago that :
” Midnight is a confusing hour when it is difficult to be faithful. The most inspiring word that the church may speak is that no midnight long remains”.
Last night, long after midnight, at minutes to 4:am, the Lord woke me up to reveal the basis of this hope.
Got up, opened my Classics Devotional Bible randomly, and began reading Lamentation 4. Then read the entire book for context.
These selected verses tell a better story that I can. As you read , accept that in this Word, the Lord is pulling back the curtains, and revealing our nation as it appears to Him. Historically and spiritually. Revealing more importantly, transcending time, the fortunes of a nation in its midnight hour.
A nation that had turned away from a loving God then. And now, a God who so loved Jamaica, Syria, the USA, the UK, the whole world, so much, a world smitten with Sin, that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ so that whoever believes in Him should not live forever in a midnight hour, perish, but have hope, of everlasting life.
So forget for the moment about the spanking new highway to Mamee Bay; the easy access to the ATM; the access that Wi-Fi opens to de werl; the Porche in the showroom in New Kingston; the driving reggae music beat produced by Sly and Robbie and Usain in Bolt singing the National Anthem in Ostrava, and see our beleaguered country through a different lens. Literally #BeyondTheHeadlines
” How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal….
Judah has gone into exile with suffering and hard servitude; she lives now among the nations, and finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress…..
Her foes have become the masters, ( locked up in grills and gated communities) her enemies prosper,( very few are caught….and they flourish and enjoy the hype life) because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe…. ( Gleaner Headlines…Human Trafficking)
He has cut down in fierce anger al the might of Israel; he has withdrawn his right hand from them in the face of the enemy; he has burned like a flaming sword in Jacob, consuming all around ( a work in progress….pray God that his wrath may not consume is all….in Jesus’ precious Name we pray….its high time we come to understand that CNN and BBC news is not the only reality
For these things I weep; ( while others celebrate art) my eyes flow with tears; for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my courage ( Before Christ)…..
Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading ( #ProsperityGospel; putting asunder what God has joined together Righteousness and Justice….forgetting to tell the woman caught in sin….go ye and sin no more ….don’t #KeepChurch in the Parliament….leave your Cross and Christian conscience at the door…..The sexual abuse by Church leaders….and members )
For the chastisement of my people has been greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment , though no hand was laid on it ( for those who make the rebuke of homosexuality a priority while ignoring the greater sin – disobedience to an Almighty God and the rejection of the Salvific Blood of Jesus…not loving mercy and pursuing justice and walking humbly with the Lord)
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.
The Lord is good to those that wait on Him.. ..
Of course we all know that these last verses inspired the the writer of one the all time best loved hymns.
And one that speaks about the Blessed Hope we have in a God for whom there is no shadow of turning. #BetterthanMargaretThatcher. #Thisladyisnotforturning No possibility of Him not having mercy.
No possibility of Him leaving us alone in our #MidnightHour. No hint of Him abandoning those He created and called to Himself. To be holy as He us holy. In and through Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!
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!
I had forgotten about it until this morning in my #Earlymorningdevotions. A little boy pointing his finger at me like a gun. In a rural town! This, instead of the traditional Jamaican greeting; a wave of the hand. This was like 20 -30 years ago. After the turbulent 70’s, when I believe the whole thing started. When de gate fly. And de pirate dem come in.
People became ‘ accustomed ‘ to murder’. To witnessing murder. To killing another human being. Who was his opponent. Who was in his way.
People became accustomed to guns. Hand guns! Then high powered guns. Then ‘ a what dat ‘. The gun was so frightening that people couldn’t find any other name! To gun salute. At a dance. At funerals. So it seeped into the culture. And became a greeting.
In the mind of adults and children alike. Not just in anger would they point a finger at you. But as a form of greeting.
From then I knew we were heading for trouble. And over the years despite the warnings. From the church. From outside the church. From steadfast journalists like Ian Boyne and others. The thing has just steadily deteriorated. Into the Pit of hell. #Jamaicableeding
So I went bed praying. Weeping deep in my soul for my country after listening to #BeyondTheHealines on #RJRFM94 with #DJMiller last evening. The discussion was about the hugely topical issue #AlkalineVideos
I sent her this tweet which summed up my recollection of the part I heard. After I went home. #Donotextanddrive.
Listened.Disappointed. Art reflects life. Controversy sells. #Argumentdone Murder nothing to do with music & art. Seriously! God have mercy https://t.co/TIwjlsPzec
Then she responded.
we had different points of view on the issue, as i’m sure you heard though.
To which I responded:
Yes I heard one person trying to contextualize the issue. But saddened by the dominant view that ‘ low de ting’. While #Jamaicableeding https://t.co/YyFujW5m3u
Finally with my heart full of pain and sadness I tweeted:
@djmillerJA kinda hard hearing a stout defense of the #AlkalineVideos when #RJRFM94 news highlights June as the bloodiest for years #Reality
For what really bothered me, is that, here were people, while for the most part, acknowledging the reality of #Jamaicableeding nonetheless were adamant that art, which reflects life, no matter how dirty and ugly, should be allowed its free rein. Perhaps reign too. My words. And that music is a business and controversy sells. So what are we really arguing about. #Argumentdone #EdwardSeaga. In fact look how many people had seen the video in the last three months. 1.3 million !
One gentleman tried to point out that there’s a thin line between art reflecting life and art influencing behaviour. And therefore in that respect, and in the light of #Jamaicableeding there ought to be some kind of regulation. And if not an official body then we are left with the consumers to reject or accept. I could almost hear a Michael Manley type response 1.3 million can’t be wrong.
I have no doubt in mind, that huge numbers of young people, in particular, would have no problem with these videos. In fact the #Argumentdone came from one of the callers.
Then I woke with Psalm 103 in my heart. And as I read Psalm 40 cane to mind also.
Bless the Lord, O my soul…….who redeems your life from the pit.. ..
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire…….
There is more. But I need to go and walk. And go to work. So I’ll finish the journey in the Psalms in the weekly Saturday morning Whatsapp and blog which will then appear on Facebook. Thank God that there is another narrative. Another end to this story of #AlkalineVideos and #Jamaicableeding It’s not just what we hear on #RJRFM94 or see on #CNN And ultimately it’s not only the views of the 1.3 million that count. But He who in Christ raises nations and individuals from the Pit of hell. #Jamaicableeding
Who fly de gate and let in de pirates? #AlkalineVideos #Masicka and #Kartel #Jamaicableeding An indifferent, irrelevant and uncaring church! #Lukewarm The Politicians from from way back in the ’70’s! Rapacious capitalism! Socialism gone off track! Facilitating policemen ! An accommodating theology that is soft on ‘ sin’ but embraces love and is inclusive! Mutty Perkins et al in the media playing Pied Piper and leading people astray! Communities and mothers and relatives that ” wash the bloody clothes “. Hide the guns. Cry ” we want justice “. The human rights people. Indecom. Me. You.
All have sinned. Time for repentance. Not for recriminations. As the floodgates are open and the ‘ Philistines’ are pouring in day by day. #Jamaicableeding
Hear my cry O God …attend unto my prayers……when my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the Rock which is higher than I.
This Rock is Jesus….
FACEBOOK … Wednesday
What really is the point of all the hype if at the end of the day all that matters is that ” the wages of sin is death”. #Jamaicableeding
How did a nation which once heralded Shadrach Mesach and Abendego move to celebrating Masicka Kartel and #AlkalineVideos #Jamaicableeding
Two tweets sent out on Twitter this morning. One before I began my #earlymorningdevotions.
The other after I read one of the Scripture readings for Sunday.
All of this as we say #GoodbyePortia #GoodbyeCaptain and #GoodbyeMikeFennell.
And goodbye to common decency and Bible Heroes and welcome to #FreeKartel #AlkalineVideos and #Masicka the new star.
Then I read the verses before the Gospel reading for context , ” whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me ” said Jesus.
Context: ” What I say to you in the dark ( yesterday) tell it in the light.. ….Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell ” Matthew 10
So, yes, celebrate and give thanks to those who have served well and moved on. Yes, mourn for our country and relatives #Jamaicableeding
But after all of these emotions have gone and life continues, for a while longer, we will still be left with the unsettling reality, for some, and the assurance for others, that ‘ the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus ‘.
Little wonder then, that “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand ” came to my attention ” in my #earlymorningdevotions ….in every wild and stormy gale, my anchor holds and will not fail. His vow, his covenant and blood are my defense against the flood…..
And the place is being flooded by Masicka Allaline and Adi. May God have mercy on our country. #SolidRock. #BeyondPolicing #BeyondTheCrimeBills #JesusAlone Time to #KeepChurch everywhere #Facebook #Twitter #Instagram #WhatsApp #TheParliament For the times are evil!
Yesterday- She was ready to #KeepChurch. Right there on the road! Why? She walking to work and me walking for life. Me praising God for an overcast day which would cool down the place. She joining in the praise. “C’mon”, in true Pentecostal style, she said, encouraging more of the praise of the God she loves. So we walked for a minute together praising God, and declaring it to be better than #AlkalineVideos.
This week – What I tell you in the dark shout it out in the day.
Early this morning in the dark – The Lord woke me up. I randomly opened my Bible. And read about Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream in Daniel 4.
How the mighty tree fell. How The Mighty King of Babylon was made to ” eat grass” like an animal.
” In order that all who live may know that the Most High is Sovereign over the kingdom of mortals; he gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of human beings “
In order to show mankind that God is Sovereign over The Parliament #KeepChurch and sets over it the lowliest of human beings who do not leave their Cross outside to cool with the driver in the air conditioned vehicle.
In order to show mankind that He is Sovereign over the Institution that He ordained #HolyMatrimony, and if a husband and wife love each other with His Love and sensitivity to each other, neither #Rape nor #Divorce will be at play.
In order to show mankind that He is Sovereign, and the proud He sends them away empty and to prison #Adi and #Dudus But gives grace to the humble. And so #AlkalineVideos ought to be shunned as not even ‘ godly or parental ‘ guidance can help. Twitter Emily Shields
In order to show mankind that He alone is Sovereign over Crime and Violence and will #Intervene as He did for the Jews in the land of Pharoah. In His own time! And for His Glory. #CrimeBills #FleetStreetNightmare #Angel If we cry out to him day and night and humble ourselves so that we are not made to #eatgrass like Nebuchadnezzar. O Jesus have mercy.
FINALLY FACEBOOK EARLY IN THE WEEK. A REFLECTION ON GOD’S LOVE AND MERCY
Early morning instructions. Awoke with ” Saturated in His Love”, in my heart. Got up, gave thanks for sleep, and went and read what Hilary of Poitiers wrote centuries ago; and still relevant today. Then read the very instructive, and if you read carefully, prophetic, passage from Acts associated with the meditation. Finally, Oswald Chambers’ meditation last night’, finding yourself ( in relation to who God is and what He requires of us) in the midst of sorrow, as St. [ 945 more words ]