Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Those of you who tend towards being “political” in your interests, as I confess myself so to be, will no doubt be taken aback by the latest announcements - today the 10th Feb as I begin this letter - by the Governor and the Premier, to the effect that the current term of Government will come to an early end and the General Election expected later this year will be brought forward by a month to April. As coming from British stock, what strikes me to be particularly surprising is not so much that a Government might choose to have an early election (something that someone used to the American system might find really difficult), but that the issue propelling an early election could be one that surrounded a parliament’s Speaker.
Every place has its own particular style and history, and for better or for worse this event will become a historical marker for Cayman. Historians of the future might also pore over the records of this event trying to unearth any other reasons, less known to us, for this abrupt change of course. Could it actually, say, be anything to do with the recent decision of the Ombudsman about Cabinet records? But let us not be accused of over-speculation.
I have been asked what I felt about it and have only been able to answer that I have found it to be an unexpected development and that I'll be looking out for the Lord’s hand in it.
This is following the Old Testament outlook in particular, which tends to view unexpected developments in the political world enveloping the nation of Israel as an outworking of the providential purposes of God, either to aid it, as in the escape from Egyptian slavery and in the victories of Gideon and other leaders over ungodly assailants with their superior numbers - or to to admonish and correct it, as in the years of the wilderness wanderings or of the Babylonian captivity, brought to a conclusion as it was through the ascendance of the Persian empire over Babylon. One may reflect that for all their successes, and we may well cite their successful handling of the continuing coronavirus episode, this is the only government in Cayman that I know of that has actually publicly and unapologetically accused those who have adhered faithfully and reasonably to a Christian viewpoint to be upholding a theocracy.
But as the Christian poet Robert Burns said “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men. Gang aft a-gley.” (= go oft awry, excuse my Scottish). Now, let me be clear, I am in no position to be making any judgment on such matters; rather, I am expressing a thought speculatively that may in time possibly turn out to have some merit. Let us wait and see. Meanwhile, we shall continue to express the belief that all authority is contingent upon the providence of God the Almighty.
The Collect for this coming Sunday, the Sunday called Quinquagesima (the Sunday before Lent), will be:
O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Because of the words of the Collect the Sunday called Quinquagesima has been characterised as “Love Sunday”, following the translation of the Authorised Version (KJV) for the end of 1 Corinthians 13: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” The word “charity” is the translation of the Greek word “agape” (in Latin “caritas”). This biblical chapter is the Prayer Book provision of the Epistle for the day called Quinquagesima. In modern English, agape and caritas are more understandably rendered as “love”, which however is a many-faceted concept depending upon the context of its use.
Coincidentally, the Sunday called Quinquagesima of 2021 falls on Valentine’s Day the 14th February. Some years ago the Cayman Ministers’ Association, responding to the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day started to advertise the Sunday of the week in which Valentine's Day fell as “Marriage Emphasis Sunday”.
We can reflect that the “love” of marriage is regarded scripturally as an image (albeit most imperfect) of the actual love of Christ for His Church, or of God for His People. In our Collect, love (= charity) is prayed for to be “poured into our hearts” by the direct action of the Holy Spirit. The descriptive language about this love in “the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee” is powerful and deeply moving.
Never let it be said that our worship is cold and dry. The Collect this Sunday shows it to be electric.
For directions about the services this Sunday the 14th Feb, please see the website www.truthwithlanguage.com.
The Ash Wednesday service of Commination, Imposition of Ashes and Administration of Holy Communion will take place on Ash Wednesday the 17th February at our home, 19 Kingschase Drive at 5 pm. Please make transport arrangements in advance if you need to. There are not likely to be any more serious traffic issues than usual this year.
May the Lord guide and sustain us as we continue to approach the Lenten Season.
In His mighty and Holy Name,