Mon | May 25, 2020

Hello Mi Neighbour | Look to the sky for help

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 12:24 AM
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.

Hello mi neighbour! With our backs against the wall in the face of danger … hmmm … what do we do? Out of desperation, a babe will cry and a parent will run to its rescue. The troubled will weep and a relative or friend will hug and comfort him/her, etc. But what do we do when in distress and there’s no human touch available? Something to ponder. COVID-19 forbids the physical human touch, thereby exacerbating the present distress in our world.

“For survival of humanity”, we must observe the social distances recommended by world leaders even as we seek answers and solace outside the human realm.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte broke down in tears and said, “We have lost control; we have killed the epidemic physically and mentally. Can’t understand what more we can do; all solutions are exhausted on ground. Our only hope remains up in the sky. God, rescue your people.”

Waking up another morning to the reality of a world in big trouble and badly in need of “Divine intervention”, not only have I recalled the famous Peter Bunting’s statement of yesteryear, but an old song written by the great Christian Reformer, Martin Luther (not King): A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, sung for centuries in invoking God’s comforting presence and settling troubled minds.

While this column is not about music, under prevailing circumstances, I invite you to sing along with me as we “look to the sky” for help and comfort:

A Mighty Fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing:

Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing,

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work His woe;

His craft and power are great,

And armed with cruel hate, on earth is not His equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;

Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;

Lord Sabaoth is His name, from age to age the same, and He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us ...


And may we also as a people find strength and comfort in the application of the following, at this time: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you … from the deadly pestilence (COVID-19).

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge …

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge’, and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

... With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91)

May you be at peace as you love and care for your neighbour as yourself today.


1. All those neighbours who have been praying for Jamaica

2. Medical professionals who have been caring for the afflicted

3. Those institutions where care is being offered to victims of the virus

To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165, 884-3866, or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB. Alternatively, send donations to HELLO NEIGHBOUR C/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; Paypal/credit card: email: Contact email: Visit Mr Townsend exclusively manages the collections and distributions mentioned in this column and is neither an employee nor agent of The Gleaner.