Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Devon Dick | Support those traumatised by evil

Published:Saturday | December 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear fellow Christians, Advent greetings to you all! Peace be unto you from God, Our father and our, Lord Jesus, the Christ!

The leadership of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) is concerned about the ongoing senseless killings and vicious assaults on our children and elderly. Some reports claim that we are averaging three murders a day. This is unacceptable and untenable if our nation is to flourish. If we are not careful, we become numb, insensitive and fatalistic concerning these examples of decadent attitudes and actions.

These awful incidents affect us in one way or another. In fact, some of our sisters and brothers have been victims. Just last month, our sister, Michelle Walker, a member of the Mt Nebo circuit (St Catherine), was a victim of violence. Her uncle was killed; her house set ablaze and she, and her two young children, were doused with gasoline with the expectation that they would perish in the fire. However, they escaped through the back door of the home. The pastor, the Rev Orlanzo Wright, and the JBU have responded to her urgent needs.

We call upon all, especially those who are appropriately resourced, to support those who are traumatised by this evil and engage in a practical ministry to them by offering our presence, prayers and presents.

In addition, we call upon our congregations to make their churches and centres available as spaces for conflict resolution, mediation and transformation as we seek non-lethal ways to air our differences. Let us always remember that we are called to be peacemakers and we should encourage and facilitate all citizens to find peace with God, peace with themselves, peace with others, and finally, peace with our environment.

Additionally, we call on our citizens to support and cooperate with the constituted authorities and agencies in ways that will meaningfully serve to reduce the incidents of killings, injury and sexual assault that are being reported. As our brothers' keepers, these are but minimal ways in which we may respond.

Furthermore, we ask that our sermons and prayers intentionally seek to address this scourge on our land and also offer solace to the victims. We need to speak humbly as a community of Faith, recognising that, wittingly or unwittingly, we have contributed to this state of mayhem and decadence and/or benefitted from same. We all need to recommit ourselves to a higher moral agenda. Let us commit to hold our political leaders accountable to their responsibility to provide the kind of resources that will assist those on the front line in the fight to more meaningfully and safely carry out their assigned tasks.

It is useful to remember that shortly after the birth of Jesus, the nervous King Herod ordered the killing of all children two years and under who lived in Bethlehem.

There was much weeping and wailing (Matthew 2:16). It means the people of God have faced murderous men before and prevailed. Our belief and hope is that with the advent of Jesus in our world, we have the victory and the assurance of good triumphing over evil and life over death. It means therefore that we can face the challenges of these times, we can endure the difficulties, and we shall overcome. Let us pledge to be different and make a difference as we live the sacrificial life.

God bless you, and may the peace which passes all human understanding be yours over the Advent and Christmas seasons and throughout the New Year.

- The Rev Dr Devon Dick is President of the Jamaica Bapist Union.