The parish of Clarendon, in general, and the capital ( town, not yet a city), May Pen, where I work, is ‘under the gun’. Literally and metaphorically! As crime and violence is a major problem in that part of central Jamaica.
I left there last evening and headed over to the western, tourist area, Montego Bay in St. James. And was greeted on the outskirts by a joint police military checkpoint! Why? This part of my country is under a State of Public Emergency consequent on the mayhem caused by gunmen.
This is the context in which I am led to write, the Lord having woken me up early this Saturday morning, about The Annual Anglican #HealingConference2018. #HealingandDiscipleship
For my #CryTheBelovedCountry is desperately in need of healing.
On Labour Day, Wednesday 23rd, ” The Church ” invaded Clarendon, with Prayer and Fasting, and stormed the home of the ” Strongman”. This according to the discussion I heard on #TBCFM as I drove to work yesterday. And released the parish from the stronghold of forces which had held the minds of the people captive. The main reason for the shedding of so much blood in the parish. So declared a Bishop who was the main force behind this move.
Check out @tbcradio885’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/tbcradio885/status/999019752260554753?s=09
Fast forward to last night at #HealingConference2018 where Internationally acclaimed Gospel Artiste Jermaine Edwards along with half of the famous Ity and Fancy Cat performed to the glory of God. As ” The Church ” invaded St. James with Prayer and Fasting and Teaching and Worship and Fellowship.
And shortly before I woke up this morning this Scrpiture was ‘ leading the prayers’ in my sleep:
“Love mercy, act justly and walk humbly with thy God. From the book of Micah. Prefaced by a question: And what does the Lord require of thee?
And in my sleep I recalled hearing on TBCFM a pastor declaring thst the reason why the Lord did not allow his angels to remove Lot and his family the same night, was because of Mercy. For the Lord was giving the city another chance to repent. Such is the mercy of God.
Then, because I am now going through the book of Romans, ” For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God “, came to mind. In my sleep! And that, therefore, we miss the real message of mercy in the Sodom and Gomorrah story.
Recall the conversation between Abraham ( Lot’s uncle) andvGod.
“ If I find ten righteous men in the city I will not destroy it”.
Go back then to the awesome revelation of Romans: ” There is none righteous. Not one “. Except in Christ Jesus! Thank God.
Same story in Genesis. God had in mind to destroy all humanity on account of wickedness. Sin. But for Noah. A righteous man.
So the real story and warning of S&G is that but for the mercy of God, in Christ Jesus, destruction can come ” like a thief in the night”.
In Clarendon. In Montego Bay.
For the judgement of the wicked like #Kartel is not just that he is in prison, but what an extended reading of the Gospel for Sunday declares:
THE WORD OF GOD
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
John 3:16-21 NIV
It means that ‘ judgment’ has already been pronounced on those who fueled the violence in May Pen and in Montego Bay. And on all who have rejected the offer of salvation from God’s only Son.
It therefore means that we, the baptised people of God, have an awesome responsibility to share the Good News with a ” dying world”. And thus according to the words of the Benedictus, ” sit in the shadow of death.”
And the ‘ blood of the disobedient’ will be on our heads, according to the prophet Ezekiel and St. Paul, if we fail to warn all those we know, and call on them to repent.
Ultimately then, to be, and to announce the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, is what #HealingandDiscipleship is all about. The Message and Ministry of Reconciliation.
Pouring out what God has poured into us in and through Jesus Christ. Restoring our souls. Inviting us to be part of God’s Kingdom. So that, together, in Clarendon and Montego Bay, we can declare, like St. Paul, that we were not, “ disobedient to the heavenly vision”.
I pray that God’s mercy may flow into and out of this place, and not only into the lives of those who attend, and those for whom we are praying. But also for the surrounding community of St. James ” Under the Gun “. And into May Pen where wickedness abounds.
This as, more and more, we grow in Christ to “ love mercy, act justly and walk humbly with our Lord”. Amen.