There have been many casualties of the COVID-19 health crisis. It has attacked our bodies, relationships, finances, mental stability, and even our worship. Everything has changed. Wisdom dictates that though this ongoing crisis has marred the human landscape for as long as time lasts, all is not lost. There are a significant number of lessons we have learned (and must continue to learn). Among those lessons is that God is still in control; and as long as He is firmly seated upon His throne, we must give Him the honour due to His name.
The Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) has redoubled its commitment to honouring the Creator despite our current challenges. CJC's President, Pastor Levi Johnson called all staff from the headquarters on Brunswick Ave. in Spanish Town, to an exceptional worship experience at Conference-owned Camp Verley in Spring Village. The particular setting for worship was the storied Prayer-Health Trail (find out more about the Trail here). As far as the Conference's President is concerned, there is no more powerful experience with the Creator than prayer. Pastor Johnson often calls the CJC's workers and all members around the three parish territory, to fervent, humble prayer. Prayer changes things. No, prayer changes people.
While observing social distancing and all other protocols, the staff were segmented into three groups, pausing to sing, pray, listen to worshipful instrumentals, and brief exhortations. The goal was for each staff member to focus his/her attention on God. This priority would seem to be self-evident; however, we often tend to focus on our worries, cares, problems, and genuine financial difficulties. And that is not to mention our physical health challenges.
Pastor Johnson shared that, for quite some time, he has been in a prayer group on Mondays with Bishop Omar Rickety, Bishop Jonathan Hayden, and others. These gentlemen joined the worship at Verley with a few other distinguished guests, including Bishop Michael Johnson. Bishop Johnson shared several spiritual gems. One memorable gem was, "When God wants to do anything in a nation, He calls away His people". God's people were indeed called away to hear His voice at Camp Verley.
At different junctures, Bishop Johnson sounded the shofar, a musical horn or trumpet made from a ram's horn, customarily used for various Jewish religious purposes. Johnson shared four of the shofar blasts (transliterated, tekiah, tekiah gedolah, shevarim, and t'ruah). Each sounding has its significance. For the staff members, the soundings Johnson chose engendered awe and a worshipful attitude.
It was indeed a privilege to experience God in the serenity of nature, one of God's blessings that reveal His glory and handiwork. He is still leading in the Central Jamaica Conference, and its Officers, Directors workers are committed to following, as the mission of holiness, care, and compassion continues.