By Father Richard Ho Lung
I BELIEVE we are coming on to times that require an underground Church, a time of martyrdom. I am not being alarmist, and I do believe that martyrdom will make us a stronger and better Christianity. There will be Jamaican men and women prepared to die for Christ. We must not fear - the blood of martyrs is the seed of the future Church.
Jamaica's Christians have members that possess power and strength, seriousness and depth and great certitude about Christ and what is right and wrong. On the other hand, we have the lukewarm who need to make up their minds: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot. Because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth." (Rev 4:15-16).
Christians! Together we must arise! The secularist, hedonistic trend is really upon us. For example, we are criticised for not wanting the legalisation of gambling, promiscuity, child-bearing outside marriage, same-sex marriage, abortion and no doubt euthanasia, soon to come.
Pastors will soon be arrested if they refuse to marry same-sex couples; doctors, nurses and hospitals will be forced to practise abortion (murder) if they want to survive. Suicide will be an option for any unhappy or depressed person in order to end their misery. If we do what hedonism and atheism require, which is to remove the commandments of God, we will remove God from our lives. Rather than that, we must be ready to be arrested or die.
Christians have to stand up to the truth and live it if they are to survive. Thus the Lord says in Psalm 119:97: "I hate double-minded men, but I love thy law. You are my hiding-place and my shield. I hope in your word."
It is a time for us to make up our minds: either/or.
There are some areas of Christian belief in which there are differences between us. But every true Christian will agree that the Word of God is basic and fundamental to all of us. We need to be unified against the onslaught of immorality that is upon us, by the Word of the Lord and our adherence to it. I think we would agree with one another on matters of truth as children of God.
As Mohandas Gandhi said, "I believe in Christianity, but I do not believe in Christians." It is a critique that ought to spur us on to greater practice of the faith. We must emphasise the need for moral integrity rather than moral relativism, accommodating every subjective complaint which finally destroys the laws of God. We must live out the Word of God. The Lord tells us we cannot serve God and mammon, we cannot accommodate both. We must sacrifice our appetites, and live an ascetical life. We must marry and bring forth children in a responsible way. We must work and produce in our land, rather than run after quick money. We must give generously to the poor.
No nation can be great, and no people can be civilised which does not practise self-control. The passions of man lead to the seven deadly sins: pride, avarice, lust, sloth, anger, envy, gluttony. Jesus on the cross teaches us the need to sacrifice our flesh in order to create a world of genuine love.
Preach the Word and live it! That transformation is needed in Jamaica! The time will come when those with false and worldly values will be purified. There might not be many of us left, but then the light shines brightest in the darkest of nights!
Father Richard Ho Lung is founder and superior general, Missionaries of the Poor. Send comments to email@example.com