Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Diary of a Ghetto Priest | MOSES! The prime minister is coming!

Published:Friday | November 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Guess who is coming to Moses! Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife, Juliet, are coming. They will honour us with their presence. I am not going to tell you whether it will be Saturday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 4 p.m. We need to fill the National Arena both days! So come both days!

There are so many delightful aspects of this theatre outreach. It all began by writing songs for worship, such as I am the Way, Enter into Jerusalem, and Rejoice my soul. It was so surprising to see young people, older people, rich and poor people coming to church and worshipping the Lord through these hymns. Then Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Church of God, and every Christian denomination began to use those simple Jamaican hymns given to me by the Lord, being used in our island. These worship songs spread to St Lucia, Barbados Dominica, Guyana, and just about every Caribbean island.

My great sadness is that Caribbean worship songs are not being used more extensively in our local churches, but mostly black-American worship songs. I look forward to hearing Noel Dexter, Godfrey Taylor and other Jamaican compositions.

After writing songs for worship, which number well over 600, I look back in amazement, since I use very few hours in a concentrated way to write songs for church use.

 

20 years of production

 

Then we went on to writing for concerts. These came under the heading of celebration of 'Life, Yes!' and 'Rejoice my Soul'. These concerts were performed by marvellous singers and musicians, such as Jon and Wynton Williams, Darcy Tulloch, Marva Roper, Grace Jarvis, William Adamson, Lee Martin, Mark McLaughlin. We toured Canada, the USA, Jamaica and the Caribbean many times. No one has ever received payment. All profit has gone to the poor.

Now here we are, the past 20 years, producing plays - all musicals - about Jamaican life, the life of the great Biblical figures, including Christ, Moses, Isaiah, Sts. Peter and Paul, King David; and musicals about Ruby, Sugar Cain, Amazing Grace and Jam Reggae opera. Now, I am working on Queen Esther. Where does it all come from? It's a mystery! The source, finally, is Christ; the source and end of life, our Lord and God.

I wrote hymns, then concerts, now I write operas and drama. A poor unlettered man, a man who loves the poor, loves Jamaica, and finds that music flows through my heart in celebrating my call to Christ, to be a servant of the poor and my people and the brothers and my country and the world of poor people.

We established homes in Haiti, India, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, East Timor, and even the USA in service of lepers, cripples, the blind, the deaf, HIV patients, elderly homeless and destitute people - all free of cost - living at our homes - without help from the governments. We do this trusting in God's providence and care for the poorest of people, whom He loves so much.

We just completed Moses in Charlotte, North Carolina; five shows with over 1,000 at each show packed the theatre. And people never stopped rejoicing at the production. Every nation was there: Filipinos, Spanish, Chinese, Indonesians, African American and Caribbean.