The church, the citizen and the elections
In this season of Lent, the Jamaican populace will be voting in what can be described as one of the most important elections since Adult Suffrage in 1944. That the election has been called at this time one can, devoid of political expediency and the power of the polls, recognise the moment as a time for clear and steadfast assent of the mind and spirit as one contemplates the future of Jamaica, Land we love.
Lent is a time for meditation and prayer and we are called to reflect on the journey of Jesus Christ as He prepared to offer Himself to die for the sins of humanity on the cross of Calvary. This season beckons us to the sobriety of thought, to seriousness of purpose and to actions that are based on spiritual wisdom. Lent calls us to enter the inner recesses of our being as we reflect on the life, ministry, death, burial, and ultimate resurrection of Jesus Christ.
One is conscious that although Christianity is the recognised religion in Jamaica that there are persons of other faiths and persons of no faith who live and dwell together. However, for the Church and those of the Church, we embrace the sacrificial death of Christ and understand that once we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour that there are responsibilities and accountabilities that we must take seriously.
To discern God's will in matters of the nation, to pray for divine wisdom, to pray for those in leadership, to pray for peace, to help create a just and sustainable society, to nurture and protect children, to look after the welfare of the poor and needy are counted among the activities that are expected to be performed by the Church and by Christians.
To exercise one's franchise to vote is also critical for the Christian as a means of helping to determine those who are to be set in leadership over the nation. We therefore encourage all who have the capacity to vote to do so with wisdom. This is not a time for making choices based on the trivia of meals or a few dollars in hand, but rather pray and think deeply about the capacity, motive, integrity and sincerity of those who are offering themselves as candidates. Do not be caught in a populist rush or be swayed by those who are seeking only for their own self advancement, rather examine each candidate in a holistic manner and deeply say to yourself, can I trust this nation in these hands? Can I place my future and my children's in these hands? Will Jamaica be safe, prosperous and peaceful in these hands?
This is a serious time and the clarion call is for those who lead us to take Jamaica and Jamaicans seriously. Candidates who are offering to represent the people of this nation, have you discerned God's call on your life to be a leader in Jamaica at a time such as this?
Leaders of nations must understand themselves to be called by God to the task at hand. What is your motive? Who will you be serving? Who will be the first on your list to appease? Will the constituents see you after February 25, 2016? Will the work in the constituency take priority? Will the people experience the wisdom of your choices and decisions or will they suffer at your hands? Will people's dignity be restored? Will money be spent fairly and wisely? Will you be impartial or will you play party politics? Will you be an example to the young and will you respect your elders? Will your peers find you worthy? Will you allow politics to cause death or will your politics enable life?
Might I encourage all those who are seeking to be leaders among the people to first seek God and God's will for your life. If with sincerity you are led to offer yourself, then may you be among those chosen by God at this time to lead Jamaica.
In these critical days, let us be in prayer for safety, may no lives be lost in the rush of campaigning, may there be congeniality, respect, agreement and good behaviour and above all, may there be peace.
'I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.' 1 Timothy 2:1-2
n Reverent Yvette Noble-Bloomfield is regional deputy general secretary of the Cayman Council of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.