Sunday, June 2, 2013

Extreme Violence in Jamaica and one Response from the Church

Last week, during a forty eight hour period, a spasm of violence took hold of my country. At the end of which, not unlike what  occurred in Oklahoma recently, death was left in its wake. Three children perished. A newborn, discarded like refuse; a four year  old girl decapitated and thrown in a pit ; and a eight year year old girl murdered and allegedly raped and again her body was left to the elements. And then in a quick reprisal, apparently in response the death of the eight year old girl, two men, an uncle and a nephew, were found killed and tagged with words warning about children are the future and not to be murdered and raped.  Have mercy! And then a country mourned collectively. Once again! Mothers weeping for the loss of the innocent. Fathers grieving for the death of compassion. A country brought together by murder most foul! How could they do this, or she or him. Whoever!

So what did the Lord say to us this week in the midst of the madness? Actually He planned His response a long time ago. As it cannot be a coincidence, that this very weekend, the Anglican Church in Jamaica, under the leadership of retired Bishop, Harold Daniel, had its 40th Healing Conference at the Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios. The Theme - Healed from Violence; creating a kinder gentler society. In continuation of its ecumenical flavor the former Moderator of the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Rev. Oliver Daley was one of the keynote speakers. Along with The Anglican Bishop of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands Laish Boyd, whose delegation from that country along with representatives from Trinidad and Tobago, The Cayman Islands and parts of the USA demonstrated the widespread popularity which this  event has established over the years. And in response to a request from my friend Rev. Horace Ward I tweeted  during the conference and in particular the messages from Rev. Oliver Daley and Bishop Daniel's very profound reflections at the end.
I made noted during bishop Boyd' presentation was unable to tweet as I was privilege to preside over that session.
REV. OLIVER DALEY Church is a broken body ministering to broken people so that we come in humility .. Rev. Oliver Daley speaking at the Healing Conference

Don't raise your voice improve your argument - a quote from Mandela who recounted his father's word during a challenging discussion.. This in response to the word used by the past JTA presidents using words which do not promote peace..
Weapons are the tools of violence all decent men will avoid them...a Chinese philosopher
Violence creates an environment for hatred.. And so it creates evil,it promotes the longing for revenge...

Violence can never be the answer as it's very success leads other to imitate it.. Ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral that leads us to do the very thing that we do not want to do.. Martin Luther
The greatest evils are ( often) committed by men determined to eradicate evil..in respect of the vigilante justice meted out to the ( alleged) killers recently
Leads us to become what we are not...violence comes because of a deep rooted problem called SIn.. Lord deliver us from evil When the society does not carry out it's responsibility the people's hearts are led to scheming for evil.. Ecclesiastes
More people are dying from the trade in drugs that from the use of it.. So decriminalize it.. More valuable than the automobile industry..

Not everything which is wrong should be made illegal...has caused so much evil..we need to ask for wisdom to consider this issue
To become kinder and gentler adopt the attitude of Jesus... He treated people's needs as if they were holy.. Leviticus 19

it will temper how we treat others even if difficult...the things that are most difficult to do often have long term benefits..
When your covenant is threatened your principles come under pressure... And violence is not an option
Save your anger for the mistreatment of other people.. Not for yourself. That's what Jesus did... Mark 3...
Demons are forces that inhabit us and destroy us from within.. Malice, racism..don't exclude religion ..chap 11
s it lawful to heal on a Sabbath... And Jesus healed the man the same day.. And the Pharisees went out and planned to kill him.
Mark 3 astonishing passage ..3.. Religious people are not immune from becoming instruments of violence ..save your anger for the oppressed
And you don't have to be neutral. The mouse who has his tail stepped on by an elephant will not appreciate your neutrality
Spiritual attitude that helps to build a kinder and gentler society... Take blows without giving them..Jesus' sermon on the mount
Shame your enemy, humiliate your enemy.. Desmond Tutu at a construction site. Man said, "I don't give way to robbers". Tutu - said" I do".
Seize the moral initiative when you are tempted to violence.. Meet force with ridicule or humour.. Shame your enemy into repentance

1 Jun
Seize the moral initiative when you are tempted to violence.. Meet force with ridicule or humour.. Shame your enemy into repentance

Seek the transformation of those who oppress you... Jesus had forgiveness and reconciliation on His mind. Forgiveness is unilateral

More than deciding that you are going to be tolerant.. More than deciding that you are not going to seek revenge


more than forgetting but remembering with love.. Jesus. Reconciliation is mutual... Seeking peace.. Sleeping head and tail is not peace.. Much Lol You can't humiliate people to make peace.. Seek for justice.. Seek for healing of memories . Put shattered lives and relationships together Kofi Annan years ago based on WHO data; every 40 seconds suicide: every 60 seconds a homicide.. Each community will have to fashion a model To deal with violence...1962 .MLK Jnr wrote a letter from prison about the appalling silence of the good people Essentially Rev. Daley, in a very deep, reflective, and moving presentation, spiced with anecdotes about very real situations, which often times provoked much mirth on the one hand, while on the other much reflection, shares his philosophical underpinnings of his abhorrence to violence; called on a nation to effect justice in a more timely manner, as in that vacuum, " people's hearts were left to scheme about violence", entered the debate on the decriminalization of the drug trade which is playing such havoc in Caribbean societies; and followed this by pointing specifically to the attitude Jesus had in respect of the use of violence as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. In this respect, he challenged even, and perhaps especially us in church, to look deep within ourselves to see whether or not we are guilty of being perpetrators of violence in our homes, in the community and in the wider society. And worse, whether or not we are beneficiaries of acts of violence. For in the final analysis, the creation of a kinder gentler society cannot be left to the people who live in the darkness( without the light of the gospel), but rather has to involve the church looking deep within itself, following the pattern laid down by our Master Jesus Christ, and then becoming more involved in societal action to fight against the " demons" that have overcome groups and agencies and communities in our island. BISHOP BOYD This theme of the call for introspection by the church, for more honest self-analysis was continued by Bishop Boyd during his presentation. He used several passages from the Bible to make the following points. The story of Naaman and the young slave girl from Israel in the the book of Kings....to show that even children know the way to healing and the way to heal violence and demonstrates that god's path to relieving violence in our society is well within our reach.....if we just accept God's guidance and recommendations, Naaman did eventually and reluctantly in respect of Elisha's advice. The story of Elisha, again in the book of Kings and how God opened the eyes of Elisha's servant so that he could see that " they are more that are with us that those who are with them".....therefore we must not doubt God's ability to defeat the evil that is causing the violence in our society...we must not tremble when the forces of evil confront us...as we know that Jesus has already won the victory. The story of how Peter resorted to violence and " cut off the servant's ear"...and Jesus chose another option...and healed the servant...we are called to non-violence in the face of violence...gentleness where love calls us....to love your enemy and pray for those who hate us.....let the process start with me....do not fight violence with violence....in an obvious reference to Oliver Daley's exportation to eschew violence....and reserve one's anger for those who are oppressed. Rather we are to respond with personal holiness...respond with the divine spark that is within us......and reflect on the fact so many times we have come or have been brought to the place where we can say " only Jesus can help"...and then depend on him to relieve the situation...we are to to mindful of the scripture which enjoin us to " let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus " ( Philippians 2:5 KJV).....so too we are called to have the mind of Christ and to bear fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit....love, joy, peace, patience, kindness....a brand new life...and if we wish to have a brand new life...we have to come to Jesus........none of which is possible if we do not love....love is the badge of Christians....it melts cords of steel.....not a new commandment according to John 1...but an old commandment from the beginning....love one another as I have loved you. Final point...is that we have to depend on the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Holy Eucharist....Lord's Supper as laid down by Jesus in John 6...to eat his flesh and drink his blood....so that we may be in Him and He in us.....as we have to be in Christ in order to deal with this challenging world......and realize that Christ is counting on us to stop the violence and to bring peace. And he closed as he began exhorting us to take seriously the following words. "I am a healer: God uses me. And so back to the Tweets...as Bishop Daniel " dug deep" into the Ward from Acts 26: 17-18 to effect " A Wrap" on the day's proceedings. BISHOP HAROLD DANIEL Paul's journey from violence to peace involves a conversion .. Acts 26... Bishop Daniel speaking tonight on The Theme Healed from Violence
..Creating a gentler kinder society..involves a spiritual conversion..will not happen in a flash.. It took time for Paul to change

First " to open their eyes".. People having an awakened conscience.. A new sensitivity.. One of the first movements in conversion


Any act that is displeasing God there would be a sense of brokenness..not because we are caught but that He is displeased.. To turn them from darkness to light .. An enlightened understanding of God's way..so that you can differentiate right from wrong As we leave this place our hearts have been enlightened so that we may act differently... Together with an new conscience And turn from the power of Satan to God.. Referred to the demons that destroy from within as described by Rev. Oliver Daley.. Yielding to. The secret of not yielding is to resist the devil and he will flee from you... To every form of evil.. Experience a new kind of freedom Acts 26:17-18... Finally so that they may receive forgiveness of sins..One of the great moving experiences of Scripture is about forgiveness ( so I thought...but there was one more point to be made). So Paul says: that Jesus sent him to open eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God and then forgiveness Forgiveness is the highest form of love.. Bishop Daniel. A movement of conversion involves the four fold mission that Jesus gave to Paul ( actually five) Finally that they may receive an inheritance a place among those who are sanctified...a new confidence in the hope that God has for them.. Not so readily disturbed... But none of us has arrived for as long as we shall live God has something better for us As I ponder on all the wonderful lessons we learned, the tremendous outpouring of love and fellowship, the inspiring singing, the profoundly moving Healing Service this morning, where over 500 hundred persons came to have " hands laid on them " as they came to God in faith for healing of one kind or another, personal and national, the words of the Good Friday prayer come to mind: " O my people, O my Church, What have I done to you, or in what have I offended you? testify against me. I led you forth from the land of Egypt, and delivered you by the waters of baptism; but you have prepared a cross for your Saviour. I believe, as I read the Word of God from Malachi last night, " Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened ( 3:16 NIV) that God heard the cries of His people over the weekend. And is saying the same words to Jamaica! What wrong has the church done why you have stopped teaching your children to fear the Lord, and turned away from the living God to idols can neither see not talk nor walk? This is the existential question that we in this country have to come face to face with. Other seemingly " important" issues pale in comparison - security, education, the growth agenda, governance, as the successful implementation of them all depend on to Whom we look for guidance. To Whom we intend to receive the glory. And who in the final analysis connects all the dots in the trials we face as a nation. An issue which triggered a note to journalist, politicians and others this PAST week.
  1. THE MESSAGE - THE FIRST ON MANY VERSES OF THE HYMN IS INCLUDED

  2. This hymn appeared as I opened my hymnbook during my devotions this morning whilst searching for another one, and then the very powerful and instructive words about the correct faith triggered the following thoughts.
  3. The Christian worldview is shaped by the following:

  4. God created the earth and the sea and everything in it....and pronounced that it was good.
  5. Mankind through Adam fell from grace through disobedience
  6. God in His mercy rescued all fallen mankind by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
  7. This same Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Ascended One, will come again to judge the world.

It is this fourfold understanding of everything that happens on earth that allows us to connect up all the dots in life. And so the gruesome death of that four year yesterday, the  outrageous behaviour of the two past presidents of the JTA, the case brought before the courts seeking to force TVJ and CVM to air an ad promoting " tolerance to gays", "the ends justifying the means" led discussion about condoms in schools,  the rain that fell yesterday and continued last night, the hope and inspiration offered by " the scholastic knights " ( bright young kids at UWI setting up a company to help to teach maths in schools), the preaching of the church about eternal life, the celebrated beauty of of Jamaica land we love, the Cross which features in every Church, the concern about the war in Syria, the concerns about what happens to juveniles in the care of the state, the declaration by some to "die for Dudus",  the seduction of some parts of the church by the beguiling influence of the " prosperity gospel"....which is no gospel at all,  attempt by some in the church and in the society, which has no basis in Scripture, to delink what God has joined together - Justice and Righteousness, the propensity of our people to give and to share even in times of trouble, and even when they themselves are in need, the huge following of Kartel and his "cousin demon protégée",  are all connected and explained by this fourfold appreciation of life. And essentially they can be further distilled into two parts, both of which are represented in the words of  this wonderful hymn about the " correct faith"

Man is so prone to wander from the God who created us: God is so full of mercy to us who are so prone to wander. And so we thank God for the Jesus who " sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God....and interposed His precious Blood so that we would  not perish.

  1. Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
    Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
    Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
    Call for songs of loudest praise.
    Teach me some melodious sonnet,
    Sung by flaming tongues above;
    Praise the mount! Oh fix me on it (I’m fixed upon it...  another version,)
    Mount of  God's unchanging love (Thy redeeming love....)
Finally the words of a prayer brought by Rev. Daley. For which he gives credit to a Franciscan, and for which many asked for a copy as the words touched our very soul, and moved some to tears, and perhaps even the presenter, is appropriate end to a response to the spasm and ongoing violence in our society this week. And indeed the world.

A FRANCISCAN BENEDICTION

MAY GOD BLESS ME WITH DISCOMFORT AT EASY ANSWERS, HALF-TRUTHS, AND SUPERFICIAL RELATIONSHIPS, SO THAT YOU MAY LIVE DEEP IN MY HEART.

MAY GOD BLESS ME WITH TEARS TO SHED FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM PAIN, REJECTION, STARVATION AND WAR, SO THAT I MAY REACH OUT MY HAND TO COMFORT THEM AND TURN THEIR PAIN INTO JOY.

AND MAY GOD BLESS ME WITH ENOUGH FOOLISHNESS TO BELIEVE THAT I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD, SO THAT I CAN DO WHAT OTHERS CLAIM CANNOT BE DONE. AMEN

In Jesus name. Amen

1 comment:

Horace Ward said...

Thanks be to God....and thank you Lucien for the tweets during the Healing Conference. I was able to 'be present.' The Spirit of The Lord was real in those tweets.

God is watching over our country, amidst the horrors you recount in this blog. God is moving across our Land, empowering God's people. The timeliness of the Healing Conference is 'living proof' of God's Hand to lead us to overcome going forward.

My brother, ThankYou!