Monday, December 27, 2010

A Cristmas wish List for the New Year

Arguably one of, if not the best, and certainly the most widely read opinion writer in my country, Ian Boyne shared his vision and hope for a new Jamaica - His Wish List - in The Daily Gleaner the day after Christmas. Boyne wrote:

" I wish we could develop a truly tolerant, open and and diverse - respecting society. I wish we could have a society in which people are not victimized defamed and humiliated because they hold different view, support different political parties and have conflicting ideological lifestyles.........

I wish we had a society which had greater respect for ideas rather than material things. A society less caught up with bling and hedonistic pursuits and one more concerned about the quality of life rather than its quantity; one in which value is not measured by possessions but by intrinsic human worth and moral action.

I wish that we would experience a moral revolution, one which makes it unnecessary to legislate morality.....

I wish we had a society which was more obsessed with excellence - for its own sake, for its sheer value......

I wish we had a commitment to the poor, oppressed and marginalized......

I wish we had a society with more people who were committed to personal integrity over expedience....

I wish I lived in a society where people were more gracious, civil, generous in spirit.......

And as I read this wish list for my country, I recalled how, this past week, the Spirit of God had led me ponder deeply on a meditation based on one of the prayers of St. Paul - his wish for the church, as he wrote to Thessalonian church.

" May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Very few persons would have a wish list that does not include some of those shared by Ian Boyne, as most of us yearn desperately for society that is more gracious, civil, tolerant of diverse views, and one which pursues excellence in its music and politics rather than choosing the expedient - that which " the people dem want". Regardless of how vulgar, demeaning to our women, on the one hand, and self serving and opportunistic, on the other. Most of us also yearn desperately that our country could experience a moral revolution, where our school children would no longer engage in " no panty days", no longer carry knives to " plunge into the hearts of their adversaries, and no longer reel off a string of expletives when " provoked". Most of us yearn desperately for a society where 30 men led by " a person of interest" - wanted by the police usually for murder most foul - no longer invade homes and kill women and children; where these " persons of interest " no longer wield great power over politicians, businessmen and entertainers", thus creating impregnable empires, which can only be demolished by the army and result in much loss of life.

The reality, however is that such a society, in today's modern, multicultural, diverse and Internet exposed world, will not come into being without fundamental change in the one institution which was inaugurated by the " Word becoming flesh", the Emmanuel - God with us. And whose birth is the reason for the celebration of Christmas, and the subsequent reflection on the possibility of a " New Jamaica " in the New Year. As this God is ," always making everything new" . Thus the body of Christ, is the one institution which has the power and the mandate to reconcile this sinful society to a Holy God, and create the peace, the graciousness, the forgiveness, the justice, and the excellence that most of us hope for.
And so this is my wish for myself and the church and pray God, for my country, in the fullness of time according to God's Holy will and purpose.


George Whitfield Verse 1 Thessalonians 5: 23 NIV

By sanctification I mean a total renovation of the whole man: by the righteousness of Christ, believers come lgally, by

sanctification they are made spiritually, alive; by the one they are entitled to, by the other they are meet for, glory. They are

sanctified, therefore, throughout, in spirit, soul and body.

Their understandings, which were dark before, now become one with the will of God; their affections are not set on things

above; their memory is now filled with divine things; their natural consciences are now enlightened; their members, which

were before instruments of uncleanness, and of iniquity, are now new creatures; " old things are passed away; all things are

now become new " ( 2 Corinthians 5:17,KVJ) in their hearts: sin no longer has any dominion over them; they are freed from the

power, though not the indwelling and being, of it; they are holy both in heart and life, and in all manner of conversation; they

are made partakers of a divine nature, and from Jesus Christ, they receive grace; and every grace that is in Christ, is copied

and transcribed into their souls; they are transformed into his likeness; he s formed within them; they dwell in him, and he in

them; they are led by the Spirit, and bring forth the fruits thereof; they know that Christ is their Emmanuel, God with and in

them; they are living temples of the Holy Ghost. And therefore, being a holy habitation unto the Lord, the whole trinity dwells

and walks in them; even here, they sit together with Christ in heavenly places, and are vitally united to them, their head, by a

living faith; their Redeemer, their Maker, is their husband; they are flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone; they talk, they walk

with him, as a man talketh and walketh with his friend; in short, they are one with Christ, even as Jesus Christ and the Father

are one.


I pray God that even a few of those manifestations of a sanctified life may attend the church in the New Year. And so help to make the prayer sent to me by one of my Bishops come true in my life and the life of the church, and therefore help to renew our society and make some of Ian Boyne's wish list become reality.

" During the Christmas season we often sing a well known and well loved carol inviting the Christ-child to descend to us, to be born in us, and to abide with us. Our special prayer this Holy season is that we will continue in that tend of thinking, and amidst the many activities in which we are likely to be engaged, we will take time to give attention to the project of ultimate significance, that of having Christ formed in us....."