Together we can rise from the ashes
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council’s Message to mark the 42nd Anniversary of Independence
AS WE CELEBRATE Our 42nd Anniversary of Independence we invite you to reflect on the following: On the 13th April, 1979 the Soufriere Volcano erupted and many people were evacuated from what is now referred to as the red and orange zones. Around that time an immunization programme was set to begin; the Vincentian Newspaper of Friday, May 18, 1979 reported that the focus was on immunizing children and adults against measles, diphtheria, polio, typhoid, whooping cough, and other ailments. In spite of the challenges faced from the volcanic eruption and in the early stages of the immunization programme, St Vincent and the Grenadines attained political Independence on 27th October, 1979 and to all intents and purposes the immunization programme went quite well.
On the 9th April, 2021 there was the explosive eruption of La Soufriere Volcano and many people were evacuated from the red and orange zones in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a vaccination programme against the virus. The explosive eruption, the pandemic and quite a large section of our population’s response to the vaccine have brought about several challenges in our nation and we are now celebrating our 42nd anniversary of political independence.
In 1979 in spite of the challenges faced and when some may have thought that this would’ve seriously hampered the immunization programme and delayed the achievement of our independence, that was not to be. As a resilient people we forged on, the rest is history.
As we celebrate our 42nd Anniversary of Independence may we reflect on the solidarity, fellowship, courage, bravery, fortitude, hope and resilience of our ancestors especially our one and only named national hero: the Rt.Excellent Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer. Together we can rise from the ashes of the volcanic eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic and all the other challenges of our lives as a nation. May we always preserve the rights and dignity of every human being, for all are created in the image of God and all people are worthy of respect and honour.
We encourage our Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to see how best both parties can work together, discern the things that you agree on, like the COVID-19 vaccination, and work out strategies and programmes for the betterment of our nation.
As calypsonian Ipa said “Put your country before your party.”
In conclusion, we believe in a God who suffers, a God who does not give simple answers as we go through pain and trying times for we must learn that there are limits to the extent of our understanding.We believe in a God who, by his gift of human freedom, has made us persons and not robots, is journeying with us through this pandemic and aftermath of the explosive eruption of La Soufriere Volcano and the other trying experiences of our lives. Sometimes to us He may seem to be uncaring. We reiterate that, we believe in a God who does not give easy answers but enters into our questions and gives Himself.
Therefore, our difficulties, challenges, and trying moments are intimately connected to the suffering of God. As it is said ‘He went not up to joy but first suffered pain.’ It is important to note that in trying times we can trust God, for, in spite of what we are experiencing we are not losing life but finding it in a depth and richness which we did not know before. As Jesus says:“those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) Therefore, in these trying times it is for us to trust God, for God is faithful.
God is journeying with us through these trying times. Our hope in trying times is not found in man no matter what position they hold, what status they have or how wealthy they are. Our Hope in the midst of trying times is found in God because God our almighty, eternal Creator is faithful. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1: 8) As we celebrate our 42nd anniversary of Independence may we be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and rise out of the ashes of the challenges of the volcanic eruption, COVID-19 pandemic and all the other trying experiences of our lives, together. In the words of our national anthem: Saint Vincent, Land so beautiful, With joyful hearts we pledge to thee Our loyalty and love, and vow To keep you ever free.
Chorus: What e’er the future brings, Our faith will see us through.
May peace reign from shore to shore, And God bless and keep us true.