This past week one of the highlights was the televised execution by lethal injection of one of the now famous DC snipers – the other to our shame and disgrace being a Jamaican Thank God I was at work when it happened. How can something so gruesome as the death of another human being, regardless of the wrongs, nay heinous crimes he committed attract such public attention?
Another highlight was a video published on YouTube which featured a young Nigerian female author who spoke very passionately about the dangers of “ A single Story”. She went on to explain how single stories about Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, repeated over time has led to the formation of a stereotypical image of her country and continent as backward, full of poverty and desperate for rescue by the more “ advanced” countries. This view does not tell the other stories of a vibrant creative people, of poets and actors and film producers, of a beautiful country and a region filled with great natural resources on which the rest of the world depends.
As I reflected on this very powerful video, I wondered whether I too had been guilty of telling “a single story” about my country in this Internet Ministry with a particular focus on the crime and violence and rampant immorality in the nation. For if truth be told , Usain Bolt and Bob Marley aside, we too have a great number of creative , vibrant God fearing people who have helped to maintain us as a civilized and warm people despite the mayhem being created by others. So in addition to my “ single story”, contrary to the views of gay lobby groups in the USA in particular, not everybody in Jamaica wishes that any harm come to homosexuals. Contrary to the views of many who live in the rural areas of Jamaica, not everywhere in the capital Kingston is a haven for gunmen. Contrary to the views of many takshow hosts and the average Jamaican, the police force is not riddled with corrupt cops – no question that far too many are criminals but that’s not the only story. Contrary to the view of many Jamaicans perpetuated over the years, and no doubt aided and abetted by very high profile cases, not every politician is a thief and involved with criminals. And contrary to the views many of our people at home and abroad, Jamaica is not a “ basket case” which cannot never recover from its many social and economic ills.
However in the midst of this reflection, the Lord reminded me of the most important “single story”. First of all, the author of this story is God Himself as revealed in and through Christ Jesus.
THE SPOKEN WORD CHRIS TIEGEN NOVEMBER 13TH
“ Simon I have something to tell you”. Luke 7:40
IN WORD The King of the universe, the One by whom all things were created, has singled out a man – a simple, somewhat pretentious man – to whom to impart some eternal truth. What a privilege! A spoken word, straight from the mouth of God incarnate and into the ear of a lowly, corrupt human. What will Simon do with such a treasure? How will the divine revelation -- in his own home, nonetheless – forever change his life?
Scripture does not tell us the rest of Simon’s story, unfortunately. As with so many others Jesus encountered, we are left to wonder what happened in the end. What Simon do with this eternal word?
The question points to another aspect of divine revelation. Not only is it an awesome privilege to receive it; it is also an awesome responsibility. Woe to the one who hears divine counsel and does not respond appropriately. Did Simon? We don’t know. The issue is left hanging – just as it is with us.
IN DEED Have we also heard the eternal voice of our Savior? Has the divine counsel come down to us as well? Of course it has. It has been put on printed pages and more widely distributed than any other collection of words in the history of the world. For those who believe it , it is also accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit. But we mat nevertheless read this revelation as casually as Simon might have heard it.
We must constantly remind ourselves: What a privilege! We must also remind ourselves: What a responsibility! An eternal treasure has been given to us. The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, has pulled us aside, as He did with Simon, and whispered: “ I have something to tell you”. Only one response is appropriate: grateful worshipful obedience.
Jesus has a word for us. He has spoken. Has that really sunk in? Let it! Whatever He has said, He has trusted you with it. Worship and obey.
Secondly, God spoke about His Son. The only story of importance in this universe.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created : things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers, or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20 NIV
Finally yesterday at church – I am writing this note in the wee hours of the morning, high up in the sky approaching London – we had a most wonderful service led by the young people. The singing, the playing of the instruments were of the highest quality and really transported one’s soul into the very presence of God. So too the sermon, shared by one of our youngsters who has a ministry to young boys in particular living in an inner city community near to the church. And I made notes. The context. The end of times and how we are to prepare to meet God.
How do we prepare...step one ...get in the book of life. By baptism. Step two ....be wise...look at your role model...gaza or gully ( there is a terrible competition between two rival dancehall artistes and who have large numbers of followers and which rivalry has become increasingly violent in recent times and attracted the much debate in the society) ...the way you live...keeping ourselves from sin...step three....be a good role model...four ..stand side by side with those who are suffering...five...you must persevere...happy are they who persevere....resist bad influences....O Lord you are my portion and my cup ....the most important step....six pray and go ur way...keep me safe O Lord for in you I have taken refuge
So we thank God that His story is the only real story worthwhile in life and that He did not keep it to Himself but has revealed it in and through His Son Jesus the Christ. I pray God that we who believe will in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit help to change the prevailing pessimistic story , that the more things change, the more they remain the same and that “ nutten naw gwaan” and tell the story that in Christ Jesus “ God a gwaan” and is changing the lives of people all over the world. Even the Mohammeds and Malvos of this world.