Devon Dick | Hear a wife’s cry of fear
Recently, a woman of our community of faith related stories of her fears. She is married with three children. She claims that if anyone knew that she spoke to me about her fears, she is a dead person. She told the authorities, when questioned, that she sees no evil, hears no evil, and speak not about evildoers, out of fear for her life.
The place where she lives is a hotspot for killings. She claims that these acts are being done by young ‘shottas’, who have no reason to live. They do not respect anyone. One lady of the community told the youngsters to give up the guns and embrace peace, and they shot her in the mouth. The ‘gunsters’ are killing innocent people, including her cousin and persons with drug addiction and mental issues. According to her, the member of parliament is not doing enough, and the police arrives in force after the killings.
There was no work in her rural area, and so she and her husband came to Kingston to seek a better life. During the last 15 years, she has built a room in Kingston through hard work. Next academic year, she wants to send one son to university. However, the children, who live in rural Jamaica, fear for the lives of their parents and told them to come back home. What a choice? Go back to live in rural Jamaica and have no job, and so the children have little prospect of further education, or stay in Kingston in their jobs and risk being killed.
HELPLESS AND HOPELESS
She feels helpless, and hopeles,s in her situation. It is as if the Red Sea is before her, and Pharaoh’s army behind. If she goes forward, she will die by drowning; and if she turns back, she will be killed by the sword. She finds solace in crying out to God daily. She asked me to join her in prayer only. She reckons that as a minister of religion that is all that I can do, and that is my role.
Perhaps it is our Christian education and preaching that has reinforced the idea that the role of the clergy is to bless babies, baptise believers, bury bodies, and apply the balm of prayer to battered persons. However, Jesus had a wider ministry. He declared his mission ‘ to proclaim good news to the poor… proclaim freedom to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind; to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’ (Luke 4: 18-19 NIV). That mission statement, taken from the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, shows that it was the ministry of God’s people in both Old Testament and New Testament times. If we confine ourselves to blessing children, baptising Christians, and burying our congregants, then we would have fallen short of God’s standard. Pastors can do more, and should do more.
Politicians can do more by visiting the corners and making it clear to youngsters that they are anti-violence. In addition to non-interference in police operations, politicians should provide the legislative support, the technological, financial and human resources to get the job done. The press can do more with investigative journalism to expose the suppliers of weaponry and promoters of violence, such as what The Gleaner did with exposing the drugs-for-guns trade through Old Harbour Bay. The police can do more through search and cordon in the hotspots of criminality. The private sector can ensure liveable wages; and the people need to supply more information through confidential hotlines.
If we fail to stem the bloodshed, then celebrating Black History month is merely sound and fury.
Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of ‘The Cross and the Machete’, and ‘Rebellion to Riot’. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.