Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Diary of the Ghetto Priest | Queen Esther - Celebrating our faith!

Published:Friday | November 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMFr Richard Ho Lung
The production team, from left: Gregory Thames, Paula Shaw, Clayton Giddens, Father Richard Ho Lung, Wynton Williams, Kenardo Merlando Phillips, Cris Shaw, and PJ Stewart.

The strange planning of the Lord never ceases to delight and amaze me. Forty six years ago, I had friends who were so full of music and rhythm and who brought so much joy to others. They stirred my heart and made me a little jealous. Though I was in the background, they brought me into the foreground. They had brought happiness into the world and made something new that wasn't there before, and they wanted me to be a part of it.

Music, Caribbean music, rhythms, and instruments were in my blood. Louise Bennett, Rex Nettleford, Olive Lewin were like elders. Then there was Jesus in my soul, and the tremendous wisdom of all the biblical figures. There was also the workings of the Lord and the Holy Spirit calling me to write.

Surrounded by music as a Jesuit, without knowing how to read or play a musical instrument, without any formal instruction as to how to write a production, the Lord nevertheless poured into my heart, my soul, my imagination, melodies and a great love for God and His poor that became my message.

"Bring good news to the poor. Feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned.

What a beautiful message! I wanted to tell this to the world, I wanted to gather young people with the good news, I wanted the poor to know they are not forgotten. That's when the music and productions blossomed and proliferated. It was a way of spreading the gospel message. I wanted the hearts of people to sing.

This is one of the songs I have in our new production. I wrote it for you, for the Lord, and will have it sung by the heroine of Queen Esther Oh I Love You with the Music of my God.

"Oooooh! I love you

With the music of my God

Hear the melodies He placed

Within my soul

There are lyrics

He has moulded gifts of gold

There are stories

He has written to be told.

Oooooh! I love you

With the music of my God

He has drummed our rhythms

Beating in my heart

He has taken chord

In fingers on guitar

He has played a violin

and moves the star.

Oooooh! I love you

With the music of my God

He has played with me

His instruments of life

And we have harmonised

The father with his child

We have made sweet music

Celebrating Christ and his life

Now fills my soul

//Oh what joy// O what perfect joy,

I will sing for joy,

Oooh, sing for joy

Blessed is my heart, my life."

There is another that I wrote: To You, Oh Lord, I lift Up My Soul.

"To you oh Lord, I lift up my soul

In you oh God, I trust

Please good my life, oh take meaning

Raise me from the grave

To you oh Lord, I lift up my soul

you oh God, I trust

Please good our lives, oh take us away.

Give me joy again

Our eyes are turned to you, oh our God

In you oh God we trust

Please good our lives, remove our tears

We rejoice in you oh Lord."

You must come to the National Arena. November 11-12 and 18-19 - Gala Shows are at the National Arena. Our telephone number is (876) 948-6173/0280/0287; 806-1222. I give to you, my friends, my gift that the Lord has given me - music, productions, and the poor. Every Jamaican dollar will be used for the hundreds of poor who live with us, and who we take through life.

God bless you! I even promise I'll dance for you. The brothers and singers will also sing out their hearts for you!