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Recent Christian writings: Prescod, Anthony Browne, de Silva

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by Oscar Allen 24.JUN.11

I have read 3 saints who earlier this year have shared their faith in modest publications. Patrick Prescod usually speaks to us through his music, Mark de Silva, a priest, has given us earlier publications on the natural history of SVG, and Laura Anthony Browne has been active as a Methodist preacher and public servant.{{more}} These three unpretentious people of profound faith have presented the New Year 2011 with writings that deserve our attention.

This is how Pat Prescod introduces his 16 page personal gift:

Dear Family and Friends, Grace be to you and Peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

In his booklet, “A selection of Favorite Memorable Texts and Topics from The Holy Bible,” Prescod presents some 130 verses of scripture and 22 selected topics chosen from the books of Genesis up to the Revelation. There is no attempt to include a verse from each book in the Bible, or to cover every letter of the alphabet as he lists the verses in an alphabetic order, based on the letter which opens the verse e.g. Death and life are in the power of the tongue – Proverbs 18. 21. Reading these selections, I am stuck by my need to pause several times on a page, and take in the verse, and staring in middle distance and feeling the weight, the warmth and wealth of insight from a particular verse. This simple offering of scripture verses is different. The verses are distilled through the trials and triumphs and empty days of a faith journey, and they speak to other fellow travelers. Prescod puts it in these words:

I am anxious to share … my own personal journey through the scriptures (for you) … to persevere in your own search for the inexhaustible riches, and … to grow in your spiritual life with God …

This “family tract” from Bro Patrick Prescod is a gift of love that persons of faith and others, too, will find to be a blessing. Our gratitude for this scripture sharing by Patrick Prescod is accompanied by a wish for more.

SPIRIT FILLED AND EMANCIPATED LIVING

Moving from a selection of Bible texts, it seems natural to come to “A series of meditations…” Laura Anthony Browne’s “Spirit Filled and Emancipated Living” published by KINGS-SVG PUBLISHERS offers us 15 meditation messages and a Parting reflection around three themes.

In the same pastoral mode as Patrick Prescod, Laura Anthony Browne concludes her introduction thus: “As you continue your own spiritual journey, it is my prayer that each of these meditations would cause you to reflect deeply on your personal relationship with Jesus Christ”.

The first series of essays focuses on the Fruit of the Spirit as St Paul presents them in Galatians 5.22. This fruit has 9 pegs or segments and Ms Browne takes us through the personality transformation that we can enjoy when we “live by the spirit”. Emancipated Living is the theme of the 2nd series of meditations. In this series, the theme embraces the experience of freedom from British colonial slavery, freedom won and given through the truth of Jesus Christ, and freedom that an education enables us to enjoy. Appropriately the music/songs of Bob Marley, slave spirituals and Mighty Sparrow illustrate the theme.

The letter of James provides material for the 3rd Series of Reflections on the “Inflamed Tongue”. This book is highly favored by Ms Anthony Browne. Another preacher, Elsa Tamez, loves it because of its “Scandalous Message”. The tilles of the Meditations based on chapter 3, are instructive: Teachers be warned (the tongue is the vocational tool of teachers and others); the untamable Tongue; The Two Sided Tongue; etc. These essays call for the discipline/cultivation/ inspiration of the tongue.

Throughout these meditations, Ms Browne points to very common and prominent cases of spiritual and moral misconduct and dispositions that must be faced and exorcised and evangelized.

NEW KIND OF CHURCH HISTORY

I want to write briefly on the 3rd book. It bears the title ‘The FRENCH CHURCH and THE CARIBS: A brief history of the Roman Catholic Church in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1652 – 1797) by Rev. Mark de Silva. Its approach and content make it out to be a kind of postcolonial writing, and I will give it another few paragraphs in a subsequent article. From the page which bears the DEDICATION, the book shakes off the colonial mentality. It is “dedicated to the memory of the Kalina and Garifuna martyrs who willingly gave their lives in the struggle for independence … also … to their descendants today …”. Please note with me that the kalian … people are not called “pagans” or uncivilized. In fact, in the book I get to recognize them too as human, people of God whose earlier/ ancestor migrations came through our region some 5,000 years before Jesus Christ was born. This book opens our eyes.

The three writings mentioned here all have Christian credentials. They state, they declare, the share their faith. In addition, the works by Patrick Prescod and Laura Anthony Browne have a strong pastoral bias. They aim at building and nurturing people of the faith family, first all. The book by Ms Browne, in addition, has an explicit evangelical note which is brought to a climax in the ‘Parting Thoughts’. What may be the distinguishing mark of Rev. Mark de Silva’s book is the implicit theology of mission and its prophetic ring. I am enriched by theses saints of the faith.

P.S: In the lists of persons on the acknowledgement pages, two names appear in both the Prescod and the Anthony Browne lists: Linda Allen and Gillian John. Thanks

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