Tuesday, January 02, 2018

“O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: because his mercy endureth forever” (Psalms 118:1).

Fellow Gambians and all God’s people, we have a reason to praise the LORD and to give thanks to His Most Holy Name.

As we draw the curtain on the year 2017, we cannot ignore the uncertainty, turbulence and panic that seized our nation at this time last year.

Some of us had to seek refuge in neighbouring   Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone, while others went to Europe. The rest of us who braved it out were in utter distress. But when we called on the Most High God in our trouble, He heard our cry and came to our rescue.

He snatched The Gambia from the sting of civil war. “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23). The challenge brought us together instead of dividing us. We determined to put God first; so he redeemed us; to the extent that we can celebrate the Christmas tide in peace this time.

“O give thanks unto the LORD for he is good: because his mercy endureth forever” (Psalms 118:1).

As we reflect on the new year let us remember our brothers and sisters who could not enjoy the Christmas tide due to civil unrest or natural disasters.

There may be others in our neighbourhood especially children whose family cannot afford the basics of life. I will implore that the needs of such people become a priority in our resolution for 2018.

As God’s people we are expected to be our brother’s keeper. We must demonstrate the love of God to them, and the King of Glory shall say to us, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and you gave me drink: I was a stranger and you took me in: naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me.” (Matthew 25: 34b-36).

For the King of Glory says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these brethren, ye have done it for me” (Matthew 25:40b). On the other hand, if we fail to respond the King of Glory will reject us saying, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not (Matthew 25: 41b-43).

Beloved people of God, let us diligently respond without delay so that we may not go into everlasting punishment but into eternal life.

The recent political impasse was a shadow of man’s real enemy. The sin nature which enslaves us and causes us to disobey God’s command is the greatest threat that must be conquered for us to have lasting peace.

There is only one way to triumph over the sin nature, that is by believing in Jesus who shed his blood so that through him we shall be freed from the bondage of sin.

Jesus affirms that he is the way the truth and the life, so that no one comes to the father except through Him.

He further asserts, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. … I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10: 9-11).

Jesus assures his believers. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

As we sail through the new year, let us claim the peace of Christ and in turn demonstrate it to our neighbour so that by our love we may be able to reduce the widening inequality gap as we combat poverty in our nation.

On behalf of his Lordship the Bishop and the entire Anglican family in the Diocese of Gambia, I wish the Head of state, the Government and people of our beloved nation, The Gambia; our ecumenical partners, our brothers and sisters in the Muslim fraternity, and all well-wishers, Peace and prosperity, good health and wellbeing and God’s protection in the new year and beyond. It is my fervent prayer that the Gambia start to experience sharp economic growth that will filter down to the less endowed in the year 2018 and beyond.”

With enormous thanks and best wishes.