The prime min­is­ter is com­ing!

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

GUESS WHO is com­ing to Moses! Thanks to Hur­ri­cane Matthew, Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness and his wife, Juliet, are com­ing. They will hon­our us with their pres­ence. I am not go­ing to tell you whether it will be Satur­day at 7 p.m. or Sun­day at 4 p.m. We need to fill the Na­tional Arena both days! So come both days!

There are so many de­light­ful as­pects of this theatre outreach. It all be­gan by writ­ing songs for wor­ship, such as I am the Way, En­ter into Jerusalem, and Re­joice My Soul. It was so sur­pris­ing to see young peo­ple, older peo­ple, rich and poor peo­ple com­ing to church and wor­ship­ping the Lord through th­ese hymns. Then Bap­tists, Methodists, Angli­cans, Pen­te­costals, Church of God, and ev­ery Chris­tian de­nom­i­na­tion be­gan to use those sim­ple Ja­maican hymns given to me by the Lord, be­ing used in our is­land. Th­ese wor­ship songs spread to St Lu­cia, Bar­ba­dos Do­minica, Guyana, and just about ev­ery Caribbean is­land.

My great sad­ness is that Caribbean wor­ship songs are not be­ing used more ex­ten­sively in our lo­cal churches, but mostly A scene from Moses.

Black-Amer­i­can wor­ship songs. I look for­ward to hear­ing Noel Dex­ter, God­frey Tay­lor and other Ja­maican com­po­si­tions.

Af­ter writ­ing songs for wor­ship, which num­ber well over 600, I look back in amaze­ment, since I use very few hours in a con­cen­trated way to write songs for church use.


Then we went on to writ­ing for con­certs. Th­ese came un­der the head­ing of cel­e­bra­tion of ‘Life, Yes!’ and ‘Re­joice my Soul’. Th­ese con­certs were per­formed by mar­vel­lous singers and mu­si­cians, such as Jon and Wyn­ton Wil­liams, Darcy Tul­loch, Marva Roper, Grace Jarvis, Wil­liam Adam­son, Lee Martin, Mark McLaugh­lin. We toured Canada, the USA, Ja­maica and the Caribbean many times. No one has ever re­ceived pay­ment. All profit has gone to the poor.

Now here we are, the past 20 years, pro­duc­ing plays – all mu­si­cals – about Ja­maican life, the life of the great Bib­li­cal fig­ures, in­clud­ing Christ, Moses, Isa­iah, Sts. Peter and Paul, King David; and mu­si­cals about Ruby, Su­gar Cain, Amaz­ing Grace and Jam Reg­gae Opera. Now, I am work­ing on Queen Es­ther. Where does it all come from? It’s a mys­tery! The source, fi­nally, is Christ; the source and end of life, our Lord and God.

I wrote hymns, then con­certs, now I write op­eras and drama. A poor un­let­tered man, a man who loves the poor, loves Ja­maica, and finds that mu­sic flows through my heart in cel­e­brat­ing my call to Christ, to be a ser­vant of the poor and my peo­ple and the broth­ers and my coun­try and the world of poor peo­ple.

We es­tab­lished homes in Haiti, In­dia, the Philip­pines, Kenya, Uganda, In­done­sia, East Ti­mor, and even the USA in ser­vice of lep­ers, crip­ples, the blind, the deaf, HIV pa­tients, el­derly homeless and des­ti­tute peo­ple – all free of cost – liv­ing at our homes – with­out help from the gov­ern­ments. We do this trust­ing in God’s prov­i­dence and care for the poor­est of peo­ple, whom He loves so much.

We just com­pleted Moses in Char­lotte, North Carolina; five shows with over 1,000 at each show packed the theatre. And peo­ple never stopped re­joic­ing at the pro­duc­tion. Ev­ery na­tion was there: Filipinos, Span­ish, Chi­nese, In­done­sians, African Amer­i­can and Caribbean.

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