Letters

Grenada National Day of Prayer 2020: Was of truth or in Vain?

It is the normal understanding that there exist two ‘absolutely opposed’ supernatural forces or spirits in the universe; those spirits are typically referred to as God depicting good and Satan depicting everything that is evil.

The Almighty creator God deserves full worship; but Satan competes for this divine worship and obedience especially by counterfeit appearances, messages, expressions and acts.

The spiritual controversy or fight involving God and Satan began in heaven, continued in the Garden of Eden seeking control of the ‘body, soul and mind’ of mankind and would climax in the end of time, in this last days. Rev. 12 of King James Holy Bible speaks about this episode, with further references such as Gen. 3, Isa. 14: 12-16, 2 Cor. 11: 14, & Ezek. 28: 13-19.

Since Satan is about counterfeits and deceits and camouflages, then not every spirit is to be trusted but that all spirits must be put to the test, for whether or not they are of God, by knowing and applying the truth (Jn. 8: 32, Eph. 6: 10-17, 1 Thess. 5: 21, & 1 Jn. 4: 1-3).

Whilst there is only one true and everlasting God (Isa. 44: 6-10 & Isa. 43: 10), Satan seeks attraction and admiration through a variety of false gods which also includes but not restricted to wealth, materialism, selfishness and pride.

It must also be instructive that not all worship-services rendered are directed to God and that even those services which are intended for God are not always accepted by Him. God is supreme and jealous (Exod. 20: 2-6, Isa. 42: 8, & Nah. 1: 2-6) but has clear and righteous conditions and admonitions for true worship.

Regardless of the forms and reasons for the worship (prayer, consecration, intercession, communion, praise, or what) God appeals to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4: 24); and so, any worship contrary to the commandments of God would be in vain (Matt. 15: 8-9 & Ps. 97: 7).

“Righteousness (‘a virtue of God’) exalteth a nation: but sin (‘a rebellious deed of Satan’) is a reproach to any people”; Prov. 14: 34.   Mankind has the ‘free choice’ regarding who or what and how to worship, but must understand that no one can love, serve or worship God and Satan at the same time (Matt. 6: 24) especially since the consequences of the choice of worship are definite.

Regrettably, religious secularism is of intensifying prominence with worship of hypocrisy, sensationalism, entertainment, heresy and a form of godliness. In fact, an upsurge of false worships and false prophets is a marked sign of the Last Days (Matt. 24: 24, Matt. 7: 15-23, 2 Peter 2, & 2 Timothy 3).

Of particular interest though, is the trend of encouraging and engaging worship (and with so-called gospel concerts) which has now become politically-correct, but to whom (God or Satan) is such worship bestowed, and/or is the worship really about “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matt. 5: 6)?

Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey of the Roman Catholic Church, aptly stated in his spiritual message on Sunday, 17th May 2020, for the National Day of Prayer, which has been designated mainly for thanksgiving, that, “.… genuine thanksgiving always begins with truth. It begins with ….fundamental humility ….”

Synonymous with truth is integrity, uprightness and honesty; and equally so for humility is meekness, tolerance and repentance. As a respected religious leader, had Bishop Harvey previously advised and then was convinced that the powers-that-be, the organisers and the participants in the national worship-sessions had ‘set their houses in order ‘, at least in terms of truth and humility; or that the Prayers and Thanksgivings were in vain?

Despite the context of the Bishop’s address, Grenadians have long-time been yearning for genuine truthfulness with transparency in the business of the nation, for genuine humility toward carefulness and cooperation in the development of the nation, and for genuine apologies, reconciliation and closures to the terrible hurting from wrongful measures by the authorities or by people in influential positions even including those claiming to lift-up the nation in prayer.

Grenada has been generally regarded as a Christian nation, with the acknowledgement of “the fatherhood and supremacy of God and man’s duties toward his fellow man”, and constitutionally it facilitates religious freedoms, however, there have been much paradox and misrepresentation and exploit in the observances of Christian principles.

Moreover, although Grenada is not a theocracy where the government is controlled by a religious person, the establishment of a Ministry of Religious Affairs some years ago, the spearheading of the National Day of Prayer by that ministry, and the opening of the Prayer-worship with an address by the Prime Minister, may well give indications of the merging of the State and the Church.

Favours are extended to churches as a means to secure constituents for election, the Parliament is presided by an alleged atheist, the population is labeled and advertised as “jab jabs” (hinting to ‘devil and hell’), and gross vulgarity is being condoned under the veil of International Human Rights laws; all these terrible deviations and contemporary lifestyles should indeed question the attitude of the nation, particularly the government, about God, worship and truth. Has the truth of God changed into a lie and held in unrighteousness (Rom. 1: 18-32)?

Despite repeated calls in the past for serious spiritual solutions to the upsetting social ills in the society, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for the holding of the National Day of Prayer and some people including professed Christians would prefer to appreciate the relevance of the worship on a global basis for a cure to the virus and not on the need for spiritual healing and aspiration for righteousness locally.

Thus, there would be no serious demonstration of credence and application of the biblical teachings of 2 Chron. 7: 14 – “if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”, as well as of Jonah 3: 5-7 – “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered [‘himself’] with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he (‘the King’) caused it to be proclaimed and published …. let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands”.

What were the realistic objectives and proposals for the National Day of Prayer?

Were those objectives/proposals properly and meaningfully executed and achieved? What are the considered factors in thoroughly analysing the outcome and impact of the worship-sessions?

The point must be made that Grenada is no stranger to calling on God or involving with worship, specifically on a national level; enshrined in the calendar is the celebration of a Thanksgiving Day as a public Holiday on 25th October, for the anniversary of the 1983 Caribbean and American military intervention to restore democratic and political stability, following the deaths of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and some colleagues of his Marxist-socialist People’s Revolutionary Government.

Caution must always be ensured that holy blessings flow on the nation from worships, and not for satanic spirits.

An extent of the ‘apathy and affront’ by the government of Grenada for the national constitution and the religious population, was blatantly displayed to the general public on the heels of the National Day of Prayer, with the release of ‘tight’ statutory regulations for the holding of church-services after suspension by the recommendations of the Prime Minister for pertinent social distancing on 13th March 2020.

The elaborate regulations or directives for the ‘COVID-19 compliant’ churches seem to have not had any substantial consultations with the main stakeholders and as such much confusion and bickering ensued amongst the religious community, disturbing or losing or shaming any sense of ‘unity of purpose and spirit’ in the nation, which the worship-prayer may have achieved.

Bishop Harvey clarifies that the purpose of the National Day of Prayer is not to manipulate God but to get in tune with Him (God), who is ‘the all-powerful, the all Holy One and at the very rhythm of the universe’, as he also raises the spiritual values on humane obligations.

He advocates for reaching-out and sharing to the distressed “ordinary simple poor people”, for learning from COVID-19 “what we ought to be thinking about and doing in the future” and for expressing gratitude and exercising faith in God.

Attention must thus be directed to these quotes: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water ….” (Heb. 10: 22-24); since if someone regards iniquity in his/her heart, the Lord will not hear from them (Ps. 66: 18).

God cannot be mocked nor be manipulated (Gal. 6: 7-9) yet, many religious and government officials, venture to conveniently invoke God for ‘selfish and narrow’ interests, without having ‘a true heart and a penitent spirit’, embracing biblical texts as part of political rhetoric.

J. K. Roberts

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