By Rev. Canon S. Sebastian Campbell
Mark Twain wrote a story called the “Terrible Catastrophe.” It concerns a group of people who get trapped in a tragic situation. They are doomed to die. They have no way to escape. They are indeed, on the verge of a terrible catastrophe.
Mark Twain didn’t want the story to end unhappily. But he could advance no solution to the problem at hand. It’s like being on the Titanic; the massive cruise ship that was built to be unsinkable but hit an iceberg.
It is sinking; hundreds are plunging to a watery grave.
How can you save them?
Mark Twain did not know what to do so he leaves the drowning people in this fix and concluded with a cry for help, “can someone help me get them out; help”!
Now put yourself on that ship. How would you have saved them?
The truth is we find ourselves on many sinking ships in life. Sometimes we cause the leaks. It is of our own making. The icebergs of destruction lie all around us, we see them and yet are shipwrecked by them. When we become victims of our own undoing, we are helpless. What are we to do, blame everyone and cry out, “help!”
Thousands of years ago the human race found itself in a similar situation. Sin had entered the world and was spreading like wildfire. The human race was trapped. There was no way it could save itself.
The catastrophe begins in Genesis Ch. 3.
Here man and woman shipwrecked themselves and God himself hears their cry for help and moves in on them. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).
Some two thousand years ago God responded to man’s cry for help. The human race was entangled in a web of sin, despair and destruction. God did not want the story to end there. So he thought of a way to save the situation.
God sent his son into the world to become a member of the human race. And what did he come for? Just to offer you and me, people of that age and those in the ages to come – hope; hope for something better.
On the night Jesus was born it was not a silent night. All was not calm and all was not bright. The Jews were being treated as less than human. They were pawns on Caesar’s political chess board. They were being punished for disobedience to their loving and faithful God. All through the Old Testament we hear their cry for help. In Exodus 3:7 – “The Lord said, I have seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task masters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them….” Human suffering never catches God off guard.
God in Christ came down when he heard his people cry. The cry of God’s people never went unheard. Check his life: He heard the cry of the woman caught in adultery.
He was there with Matthew, and Zacchaeus - outcasts, who needed friendship, love and acceptance. He heard their cry and helped them. We call Peter and Paul saints today; but there was nothing saintly about them until they met Jesus Christ, who rescued and lifted them up.
What is our cry for help today?
Relationships: Broken relationships, where we protect things and use people. Why do our men use our women and see them as possessions; why do women allow themselves to be so easily used? Consequently there is this perception of women being sex objects and seen as breeders. It is the badge being worn by many women. We have a proliferation of children who are potential terrorists because they have not been cradled and nurtured as human beings. Tragically, some cannot identify with a father, and find themselves swimming against the tide of a feminine dominated culture. Many have no bonding in Christian homes and this leads to #2: The gang culture.
Many of our schools are riddled with gangbangers.
Girls are neck to neck with boys in gangbanging; they normally follow their boyfriends or brothers. In these gangs they are working for stripes. They call it respect. They achieve stripes by terrorising, injuring or killing people. Stripes give you a turf, you are now respected. No one attacks you anymore.
We need God’s help in out attitude to saving our children.
With our present brand names, today, we spoil our children rotten with a $500 outfit when going to a party and invest nothing in them spiritually.
We are raising spiritual midgets. They soon see our sense of priority and immediately know what is important to us. The mass of Christmas is to be celebrated by the family regularly so that the puzzle of life can come together. The family must redeem itself. Christ came into the family, he blesses the family. It is God’s intention that the family holds together.
Read again St. Luke Ch. 4:18-19. Jesus interprets his mission as coming from Isaiah Ch. 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord…” Christmas is the season when we call to mind the terrible situation that the world was in before Jesus came. Only by appreciating it can we celebrate with proper joy.
Do we realise the catastrophe we are in today and accept the fact that Jesus stands and knocks, and oh what the joy when we open up and let him come into our hearts.
If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy, let Jesus come into your heart. In our present social and spiritual chaos, then, Christmas can still spell joy! Lasting joy can only be had in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Such a relationship is evidenced on the ground here in our Bahamas when we stop bullying people and rather humble ourselves to walk as one. We must heal our broken relationships and be resident and loving fathers and mothers among our children. We must instil prayer and worship as bench marks again in our homes. Love, peace, joy must be lived among us.
Please be reminded that the Christmas season stretches over 12 days: December 25, 2013 to January 6, 2014. We continue to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.