Cry the beloved Country: Jamaica and America. Thank God for Jesus there is Hope

As I began this message last night, Alan Paton’s classic book on South Africa, ” Cry the beloved Country“, came flooding into my mind?

Why? My soul wept for my country this week. No, not because the Parliament descended into chaos and confusion; amidst talk of #Holdhimback, #meetmeoutside, #middlefingersigns, apologies, and Prime Ministerial silence.

And no, not because as soon as there was a reduction in the numbers of the security forces in Denham Town ( an inner city community under siege by criminals toting high powered guns) the deadly violence flared up.

But all because of what triggered a post on:

FACEBOOK ( with some material added for the blog)

While it is important to find out ” How did we get here” at Cornwall Regional Hospital, of far greater importance is, ” How did we get here” in respect of murder. And murder most foul!

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20180425/pregnant-mother-and-her-two-children-killed-hanover-alleged-attacker-custody

And the reading of that heinous act is made even more graphic by the video of the news story on #TVJNEWS

#Earlymorningdevotions verse which ” came into my mind” gives us a clue…..as to how we got to this point where, the father of two lovely, precious girl children, can ‘chop them up’ . And then turn and carry out the same wickedness on the pregnant, reportedly eight months with child, mother of his children.
‘ Whispers’ of ‘jacket’….not his child, have surfaced. Suggestions that perhaps he was not in his right mind have emergered. Whatever! As the young people would say. This is no ordinary matter, but a manifestation of the kind of evil which has been let loose in country. And like the proverbial genie, it is the living hell to put it back in the bottle!

THE WORD OF GOD

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it may go well with them and their children forever. Deuteronomy 5:29.

And we know from the Bible that neither the children of Israel nor anyone in history has ever been without the sin of disobedience.

” For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God “.

That’s why Jesus died. And was raised from the dead. So that in Him we might have a new beginning.

So Carlene Davis is right; This island needs Jesus. Ultimately!

#ZOSO and #StateofEmergency And Parenting and rescuing our at risk boys are all part of the solution #TVJALLANGLES but ultimately the problem we face is Disobedience to the Word of The Living God.

And promotion of Human Rights Economic growth and protecting our borders all good things, will not reap a harvest of peace if we continue to be Disobedient.

Did anyone hear Al Dawes crying out for help last night on #Nationwide Westmoreland is under siege from gunmen firing bullets that are meant to cause maximum damage to human flesh!

Comment: For the fact is that for far too long, as a nation we have allowed, and in some cases, facilitated, people to ” fly de gates” and ” let in the pirates” of sin and disobedience and wickedness.

Labeling some dancehall lyrics art, and culture and people’s reality, rather than condemning the gun lyrics and plain out of order lyrics, and calling it out. Lyrics, new lyrics, lyrics that carry us down and not lift us up. Lyrics that our fathers never knew. And lyrics which have competed, in some measure, who knows how much, successfully, with the message music of reggae.
Thankfully Chronixx and others have started a new thing. While Etana and others have kept ‘ the thing ‘ at a certain level, even ‘ up top’, the sky is the limit….streetalk.

Labeling some of the worst aspects of Carnival, culture, and Caribbean expressions and diversity in the music. Get on baad music, which ‘ tempt people to touch’, and jam what don’t belong to them, and which under ordinary circumstances ‘ would not be available ‘. Music which has, in some measure, replaced the biting social commentary, though not for Sunday School, of Sparrow’s Calypso genre.

Failing to call out those who have been responsible for introducing guns into the hands of poor and vulnerable youths; thus starting a fire which has brought the living hell into this country. And all the ‘ firefighting ‘ has failed to extinguish this cauldron of death which has been unleashed on our people.

Failing to deal with institutional corruption in both government and the private sector; which has ravaged the good name of our country abroad and devastated our economy at home.

Failing to manage the affairs of our country over the years; placing political and ideological considerations above the national interest. Causing us a people, too many people, to be living in the kind abject poverty, which often result in previously held high moral values to be ‘ sold for a pound of sugar’. Or one bag juice !

But most egregiously, ” creating cisterns, broken cistern, that can hold no water “. Within and without the Church. #ProperityGospel #Brukoutofbruckness #Lotto #Followdeleader

And in the process ignoring the Word of the Living God which was the foundation of life for our forebears. A life built around the fear of God, and love for ” Puppa Jesus! The removal of which foundation has occasioned the change in our society from a relatively violence free one, to this present age, where, ” Cry the Beloved Country ” is now a national lament.

But even though we lament and ” Cry the beloved Country “, we don’t behave as if we have no hope. For we are Easter people; children of the Most High God, who in Christ, on Calvary, and the Resurrection from the dead, offers us new life. Even in the midst of this madness!

One message of Hope came from the Gospel reading for the worldwide Anglican Church this Sunday.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, then you shall ask what you will, and it shall be given unto you”. John 15:7

So how can we abide in Christ? And have his words abide in us! So that, we can ask, in prayer, for the release of our ‘ beloved country’. From the evils of murder and slackness, and corruption, and disobedience to God’s Word. Which have all descended like darkness over our land? Stygian darkness!

The key word is abide. And to abide in Christ is to follow him. The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who paid the ultimate price for his resistance to evil during Hitler’s reign of terror in Germany, says this: ” When Christ calls a man or woman to follow him, he calls him to die” ( To self).

The challenge for leaders in the Church, with dire consequences for our society, which ought to be served by ‘ the salt and the light ‘, that is the church, is that too many, ‘ Easter’ people don’t understand that Good Friday came before Easter.

That the same Peter and Paul, who uttered the famous words: ” Silver and gold have I none, but in the Name of Jesus, get up and walk“, who previously ‘ denied’ and ‘ persecuted’, Christ, died to self. Under the cross, and at ‘ high noon’!

Perhaps then, as a reminder to live under the Cross, before we begin each day, we should all sing and pray and reflect deeply, on the words of this powerful hymn:

I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
and it told thy love to me;
but I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to thee.
Refrain:

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to thy precious, bleeding side.

2. Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
by the power of grace divine;
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
and my will be lost in thine.

(Refrain)

Then, and only then, we will not be tempted to touch what does not belong to us. And not just touch, but rape, and not just rape, serial rape. Like Bill Cosby ‘ America’s Dad’! What a shame. For in America too, many ” Cry the beloved country”.

And kill those we love. A gift from God and what ultimately does not belong to us. Life! Like what that wicked man did to those children. What a tragedy.

All because we have preferred ‘ hype over substance ‘. Preferred Excitement and Material things over the very Word of God, Jesus and him Crucified? Thank God the door for repentance is still open. But for how long we don’t know!

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