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Jesus in our community

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Imagine this: Jesus in the calypso finals. Can he deliver? Yes, I agree with those who point out that Jesus anointed does go on retreat, away from the hustle and bustle at times, but please consider with me also that he was a party person. The jibe “party animal” (or its equivalent) was thrown at him in the gospels. He himself reflected that “Because I eat and drink around, they call me glutton and drunkard, mixing with tax collectors and sinners” (Mathew 11:19, Luke 7:34). I see the Master Jesus as a grassroot campaigner, at times in the calypso arena where people have the opportunity to behold grace and truth.{{more}} We owe it to our calypsonians to bring them to meet/find Jesus in their community/tent. Like many among them, it will have to be by a miracle that he wins the car, but he is definitely in contention.

A COMMUNITY GOSPEL

Take some time to read closely the first sentence(s) in “Luke’s” gospel story. Since Luke had not been around when Jesus was around, he had to research the facts before he could write the book. He was an intellectual and when he wrote, he had his community, his class, in mind, to strengthen them in their faith in Jesus. Luke was thinking like this: “It is all well and good to accept Christ as God the Saviour, but you must have reliable backup information about the Jesus happenings to give your faith a solid foundation”. And so, with all his passion for Jesus’ reign and with all his intellect and resources, he produced this spirit filled report especially for the educated, high class, gentile, newborn Christians like “Honourable Theophilus,” at a time of shakiness and challenge for the faith. So, “Luke” is a community project,” written to share Jesus with his class and with us. With a little imagination and guidance, we too can study Luke’s work, and meet Jesus campaigning in our community – our faith community, our underclass community and our post-colonial community – as he shows us, and invites us to vote for, the reign of God! As high-class as Luke the writer might be, his gospel of Jesus does not comfort and congratulate the uplifted nor their yuppie children. See Luke 9.57-62 and 12.16-21.We too can expect some calypso challenges and thrills along the way as through Luke, Jesus enters our community with his awesome grace.

CALYPSO AND SALVATION

Luke can help us to put Jesus in association with the calypso movement because, for him, salvation is Jesus’ business and calypso has its roots in our Caribbean story of salvation-liberation. Just listen to the Nazareth lyrics and commentary of Jesus in Luke 4.18-22. Nazareth was a downtrodden community, and Jesus was a kind of homeboy. There he announced himself as God’s “Poor People Messenger” to wipe away their blindness, remove the walls that fence them in and crush their future. In this commentary (v 20) he called for a new quality of consciousness and thinking, (verse 21) from self-doubt to an empowering liberating faith. However, the Nazareth leaders “booed” Jesus and wanted to do even worse! (v 28-30) That didn’t put Jesus off track. So too, our calypso movement as a weapon of hope, change and constructive outlook meets challenges and threats that help to knock it off track from its risk laden salvation path, onto a smoother, acceptable track.

Our community and our Caribbean struggles for an emancipation-salvation are part of the remaking of people in God’s image. When Luke looks up the road at God’s people, we are in the picture. In Luke’s writing, the chosen/right people, the wrong people and the no-people do join in an exciting cosmic Carnival mas tent. Our mas project is to redesign human society, to prepare and unfold the way for peace, rather than empire to manage and to liberate the environment/cosmos, and to grasp dawn and daylight, even in the thick polluting fog choking us. Calypso and mas need to learn the Lucian text of Derek Walcott, that our Caribbean archipelago is a prime site/source for making salvation song and nation disciples for the world. Yes, Jesus can deliver in the calypso finals if we are on his side. Calypso can be reborn as salvation song. Imagine that.

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