There's no escaping talk of the pending International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, not even at the 33rd National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.
Guest speaker Reverend Dr Maitland Evans opined that the IMF, often referred to as the 'elephant in the room', was not the only 'elephant' in Jamaica.
He pointed to "the elephant labelled abuse, brutalisation and murder of our children", recalling the recent killing of eight-year-old Imani Green as the latest act. He also said there was the "800-pound elephant of corruption", opining that negative element was not confined to a few in higher circles. Earlier at the breakfast, chairman of the NLPB, the Reverend Dr Peter Garth, challenged the country's leaders to put Jamaicans' minds at ease and redefined IMF as 'Increase My Faith'.
"That's what Jamaica needs at this time," he said to great applause. Perhaps by design (or divine intervention), Evans took part of his message from a section of The Bible where Paul was speaking in Corinth, which is modern-day Greece, a nation currently facing its own economic woes.
Claim the love of God
Linking that to the breakfast theme of Love That Transforms, he noted the Apostle Paul asked the people to anchor their talents in love and challenged Jamaicans to find a way to claim the love of God which is the biggest gift with the greatest power to bring change.
"We have access to a love that is a gift from God. (But) Like every good and wonderful gift, we will be given the gift but we have to claim it and steward it," he said.
Noting the meaning of the name Philadelphia (brotherly love in Latin), Evans dreamed of establishing 'Philadelphias' around the island. He felt people who visit these towns would experience the love of God as the society battles against all the negatives.
"It would not only be symbolic; it would be people loving on to a mission, a mission of change, from the ground up," he said.
Evans, who is president of the International University of the Caribbean, said whenever the 'airplanes of life' were going down, it was the people of faith and hope who needed to bring "the superlative gift of God; that message which knows how to change, restore and renew".
Meanwhile, Garth, who was overseeing his last breakfast as chair, also called for Jamaicans to speak well of and to each other.
"There is far too much verbal diarrhoea in this country but with love that must be transformed."