The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has called for "redemption," "liberation," "the righting of relationships," "restitution," and "debt-forgiveness" as the Country celebrates 50 Years of Independence on 6 August, 2102. In an open letter to Churches, Politicians and Civil Society, JCC President RC Emeritus Archbishop Donald Reece called for an end to tribal politics in Jamaica and in its place a year of Jubilee "to make our Christianity real: to forgive; to liberate and be liberated; to regularise relationships in families that are far from harmonious or life-giving; and to close the gap of "them and us" wherever we find it."
- Deacon Mike James
Read the full message from Archbishop Reece below:
We all agree that the celebration of this year's Independence is very special; it's a Jubilee Year observance. From the perspective of our biblical tradition we consider such an observance expanding beyond mere joviality and merry-making. It's a year of "redemption," "liberation," "the righting of relationships," "restitution," and "debt-forgiveness" (cf. Lev. 25).
Given these biblical characteristics of a Jubilee Year, the Jamaica Council of Churches is encouraging the membership of our Churches, the political directorate of each major Parties as well as the rank and file of the electorate and civil society to get a firm grip on the spiritual understanding of "Jamaica 50." Right now in our society there is a tremendous amount of "cass cass" and the usual tribal politics that we, as Christian followers of political Parties, have accepted as the norm. This Jubilee Year is a call to make our Christianity real: to forgive; to liberate and be liberated; to regularise relationships in families that are far from harmonious or life-giving; and to close the gap of "them and us" wherever we find it.
Might this "Jamaica 50" not be an appropriate occasion to challenge our congregants and our political leaders to take the higher ground of nationhood, which takes into consideration the characteristics of Jubilee? Proper to our situation is the unity we ought to seek as one people under God—a people forged by bitter, inhumane slavery, demeaning indentureship and the accompanying struggles resulting in freedom and liberation.
Conversely, the lower ground will forever plague us: divisiveness, negativity, the inability to work together for the common good for all Jamaicans, greed, and political one-upmanship. St. Paul's admonition to the Galatians holds true for us today in Jamaica: "If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community" [Gal. 5: 15]. Where can we find the caliber statesmen/women who will eschew the lower ground for the salvation of the community? Where?
The Jamaica Council of Churches makes this urgent public appeal to one and all to seek the higher ground which is in keeping with the lofty ideals enshrined in our nation's motto, our national anthem, and our pledge. "Jamaica 50" demands that higher ground now!
+Donald J. Reece
Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston
President of the Jamaica Council of Churches
29 June 2012
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