An Indepence message from a Jamaican Christian

There is literally a world of difference between the expectations of Christians and non-believers in through what prism, what kind of glasses, we view Independence, and how we can make a difference. At least there ought to be!

For all Jamaicans at home and abroad, believers and non-believers, the single greatest challenge we face as a nation, after 55 years of being a sovereign nation, is the existential reality of #Jamaicableeding. #Trelawnybleeding #Hanoverbleeding #StJamesbleeding

The horrific level of homicide which has already claimed over 700 precious lives, and made our nation infamous in the eyes of the International community.

Yes, thank God, and thanks to the efforts of leaders in many spheres of life, we have made progress. In infrastructure ; roads, houses, airports telecommunications, electricity, and provision of potable water!

Yes, we have made some progress in how we conduct our politics, especially elections. Our democracy thus remains robust. Aided by a fairly vigilant and effective press. A thriving and very vocal human rights community and a justice system which is creaking but nonetheless functional. A police force and to a lesser degree the army, greatly in need of renewal, and reform,  but still a bulwark against the forces of evil on our society.  And a very active and multilayered civil society. Including trade unions, professional bodies and other non-governmental organizations.

Yes, there have been advances in public health, in agriculture – in particular diversification. Yes we have made progress in Industry and Commerce. In education. And always our sportsmen and women have continued to carry the flag high and make us the envy of much richer and more populous nations. #London2017 So too, our cultural icons in art, music, poetry and dance.

But we have failed miserably as a society in how we have handled our economy. How we have treated with the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. And the huge numbers of ‘ unplanned settlements’, is a direct consequence of this failure. How we have failed to create jobs for our graduates; thus migration to greener, even though much colder, pastures continues to drain our country of its human resources , despite the benefits of ” as you blink the money come”.

We have failed spectacularly in how we have treated family life, and our values and attitudes. Shocking! When compared to life in the 60’s. Thus contributing significantly to distressingly crude, vulgar and violent way, which far too often, has become the ‘ new normal ‘ in how we relate to each other in Jamaica. My God, almost as if we conspired to export ” The Mooch ” to America.

So how do we fix Jamaica. Two ways! Combined national effort, and requesting Divine Intervention. And Christians are expected to be involved in both activities!

” Pray for city, for if the  city prospers, you too will prosper “, Jeremiah declared.

The former requires the kind of political and organisational skills, along with patience, determination and the shaping of a collective vision, hitherto unknown and unachieved in modern Jamaica. For there is no way that we can tame the Crime monster and achieve Singaporean type growth rates with the present political arrangement. There is no way we can reset the default settings of our nation’s values and attitudes with the present social arrangement. So someone and some group of people who believe in the future of our nation, need to, accepting that this is an Herculean task, begin to work together to rescue this nation.

Requesting Divine Intervention is far more simple. But far more important, for we know that:

” Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labour in vain.” Psalm 127.

So two things, one of which was my, ‘ song in the night last night’, and the other I found nestled beside the Word of God which I read prior to retiring to bed last night, I recommend. The first one directs us as believers to request that our Lord ‘ search’ our hearts. For there is much about which we as believers need to repent of, if any ” revival “, any ” streams of refreshing ‘ is going to come from a holy and just God.

THE SONG IN THE NIGHT

Search me, O God, and know my heart today, Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray; See if there be some wicked way in me; Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin; Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within; Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame; Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine; Take all my will, my passion, self and pride; I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.

O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; Send a revival, start the work in me; Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need; For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.

The second one is just as simple yet just as profound:

I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive – Dwight Moodie, one of the greatest American evangelists.

Found beside this Word:

Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your father in heaven may also forgive you of your trespasses “. Mark 11: 25.

O God, would that in every place, in the homes, in the communities, at the workplace, on the radio and TV, in the Parliament, in the boardroom, in the classroom, in the police force and the army,  on the roads, in the buses, on the soccer field, O God in the church, and between believers and nonbelievers – especially on social media, there would arise a spirit of forgiveness in this nation.

Finally I would recommend that we consider seriously advice from a theologian who has greatly influenced my understanding of Who God is and what it means to be a disciple of Christ; the late Rev. John Stott.

” When a society goes bad, it is not the fault of the society, but the Christians within, who are meant to be ‘ salt and light ‘.

Controversial, no doubt, but only advanced, I believe , for us Christians, to understand the high calling we have in any society. Independent or still a colony of some great power. For we are the Ambassadors of The Most High God. Creator of Heaven and Earth. And in Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind and soon coming Judge of the Living and the dead. And not just onlookers wringing our hands in distress, and wondering what has become of our beloved nation.

So let us build together, forgive each other, ask God to forgive us and pray for mercy and wisdom. So that Jamaica under God, may prosper materially and spiritually. For man does not live by bread alone, my Word from the Lord this morning, but from every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Happy Independence.

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