A Christmas Message: Jerusalem, Trump, Murder and lasting Peace

So Christmas is almost here. Two more days, as I write, and then millions of people across the globe will celebrate the birth of Emanuel; God with us in Christ Jesus.

However, three families, in particular, will not ‘ enjoy’ Christmas 2017, as much as others.

1. The late Ian Boyne’s family. Shocking news of his, a man who was virtually a ‘ family friend’ to all Jamaicans, on account of his hosting of two very popular TV programs, sudden death this week was the ‘ talk of the town ‘.

2. The Palestinian families who are outraged because the USA, as reported in a very well written editorial, by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, broke a U.N. security council resolution which had the ‘ imprimatur of International law’. And Jamaica’s abstention this week in a vote called by the United Nations to, inter alia, denounce America’s action, in the face of threats of reprisals by Donald Trump, was also ‘ the talk the town’ yesterday. Especially on social media!

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20171222/editorial-whats-deal-jamaicas-jerusalem-vote

3. The ‘ family ‘ of the over 1500 persons brutally murdered in Jamaica, so far this year; especially, one which struck me as so egregiously wicked, when as reported in the news, a 16 year old girl was shot in the forehead after she refused to be in a relationship with a grown man. A national issue which, by far, is the most pressing problem that we face as a nation, as we look to a new year 2018.

As I pondered these issues, Ian Boyne’s sudden passing, loomed large in my mind. And really brought into very sharp context, ‘ the genius ‘ that Ian Boyne was, as described by the Daily Gleaner, in another editorial.

For we shall sadly miss his deep insight, well researched and nuanced, comments on these complex national and international issues.

And as I read some of the social media comments, they reaffirmed some preliminary thoughts which came to mind in respect of the Jamaica ‘ non vote ‘ at the U.N.

” When yu hand in lion mout, tek time draw it out’ – Jamaican proverb.
“Coward man keep safe bones.” – Jamaican proverb
“We are not for sale ” – former Prime Minister Michael Manley, in another era.
” Because you are neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth”
– The Bible

Tweets

The decision of the Holness admin to abstain in the UNGA on Jerusalem is cowardly. Our record on this has been principled and brave. It’s a bad and shameful decision Mr. Prime Minister. – from a senior and well respected journalist Cliff Hughes

Sample of the Reactions to his tweet

I support abstaining. Once the US cancel two visas Jamaican would kill Andrew for their visa. US is free to do what they want because they have the resources. We are still beggars of Aid

An absent appreciation of the new world order, is perhaps behind this perspective. The welfare of the nation is non-negotiable. Why risk derailment of our economy unnecesarily? We did not vote for the resolution, there is no endorsement, hence no abandonment of principle.

A man should not attempt to ride two horses at the same time…sometimes it is more prudent to sit it out. #RoevsWade

This is the same Ja that took a stance on apartheid?! In 2017 Ja too licky licky

Think you are wrong Cliff. He is big enough and brave by abstaining. Don’t get involve with big giants of the world. You see where God put us on the map. We need to stay away.

We can’t eat principles Cliff. It’s not like we haven’t been there b4. We’re dealing with an international pariah w/a thin-skinned megalomaniac president who’s not perturbed by the niceties of morality & decency. Membr Angola & M Manley? & 40 yrs later we still haven’t recovered.

END

Really makes you wonder which country Michael Manley was representing, as most of the responses were similar to the final one quoted. Unless we have changed as a people. Or social media folks are a ‘ different breed! For clearly Trump’s bellicose and provocative utterances have resonance far beyond the response or non response, of individual states. They undermine the very foundation of the United Nations and the work of it’s many agencies; not the least of which is their human rights commission. All of which, ironically, was birthed out of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime Hitler during World War 11; when the world collectively, in establishing the U.N. in 1947 said ” Never Again”, to authoritarian madness.

And as I struggled to come to terms with this new Jamaica, and this new world order, The Lord came to my rescue, in a powerful Word. A reminder really, as I had been pondering on it all week.

What Word? The Old Testament reading for this Sunday, the final one in Advent. David had a plan, but a ‘ revelation from God’, sent him in a different direction.

THE WORD OF GOD

When the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest
from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See
now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.”
Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my
servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?
2 Samuel 7.

A Word and a message which was validated by my reading another passage of Scripture early this morning.

Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint ; but blessed us he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

And finally:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me….
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14.

The challenge we face as individuals, families, and nations of an international community, is that we have not accepted the ultimate ‘ revelation ‘ from God, who is Jesus Christ. Born on Christmas day! But like King David attempted to ‘ set our own agenda’.

And so Donald Trump, with the economic might, if not the support of the American people, behind him, can ‘ cast off all restraint ‘, and act unilaterally. And bully others to go along with him. Or attempt so to do!

And so an evil gunmen, casting off restraint of the eternal value of a human life, can snuff out the life of a young girl, like a cockroach, with no remorse, and a nation cries out momentarily, and then it is business ‘ Christmas shopping’, as usual.

And so we allow, in the name of a plural society, all kinds of strange religions, the worst of the dance hall culture, the most outrageous distortions of Christianity ( if you want to reap in US dollars, sow in US, heard it myself) atheist and enlightened views, to invade the minds of our people, unfiltered, because as a nation, we have ‘ cast off all restraint’ taught to us by our slave forebears, who loved Jesus.
And then expect Jamaica ‘ under God’, to prosper!

No! For Christmas is not just a time for families to gather and drink sorrel, eat ham, have Christmas cake and exchange gifts, presumably after having attended a church service.

No! For Christmas is above all about Jerusalem. And life more abundantly for Jews and Gentiles alike. Including Palestinians. About murder. And murder most foul. About death. Even sudden death.

For Jesus is God’s ultimate and final revelation. That in Him, and in Him alone, ‘ Adams helpless race’, afflicted by Sin, battered by evil, and threatened always by the fear of death, can enjoy lasting and real peace. Enjoy eternal life. Beginning right here on terra firma.
In Trump’s country! In Jerusalem. In Palestine. In Jamaica.

But we must be bold and accept this gift. For to be lukewarm is not an option. Not a vote! Otherwise we will be cast out into eternal darkness where Trump’s threats of reprisals and wicked gunmen will seem like child’s play.
For it is appointed once for man to die and then the judgement. By the One who was born on Christmas day. That’s the Gospel Truth.

So there will never be peace in Jerusalem, regardless of whosoever recognizes it as a capital of wherever, peace between Palestine and Israel, peace in Jamaica, and peace in Donald Tump’ s soul, until, as God’s creation we accept the revelation that, it is only through Jesus Christ can we, sinful man, be reconciled with a Holy God.

For Jesus’ declaration that, ” I am the way, the Truth and the Life” is an eternal and unshakeable revelation. No matter who thinks otherwise!
Merry Christmas!

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