At the Service of Thanksgiving celebrating Barbados’ 52nd Independence Anniversary held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Flatbush Village, Brooklyn, New York, The Rev Cannon Sylvester O’ Taylor, (Rector of St Barnabas Episcopal Church, Brooklyn) urged Barbadians as they move forward to get back to the basics and reclaim the Christian values Barbados once had.
“So beloved, we need to get back to the basics. Some of us are living too high for God to hear our cry. We need to get back to the basic values, especially in light of the corruption about which we now we read and the fact that individualism is growing. As we move forward, by prayer, we need to realize that it is our Christian values that moved us forward, that our island had a church on every corner and in every parish. But do they still have service? Do children still go to Sunday school?… We need to ask God how we can help our nation and defend its honour… Some people quote the calypso that God is a Bajan and He will always look for us. So we don’t have to pray,“ explained Taylor.
Taylor referenced 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.“
Taylor recalled that the word ‘pride’ was mentioned at least three times in our anthem and wondered aloud if this scripture could apply to us, for we are a proud people. He went further and asked – how can we be humble and proud at the same time?
“Humble means showing a low estimate of one’s own importance. I recall Barbadian pride was pride of country. We welcomed the strangers in and extended our best wishes to them. Since tourism is our industry, we welcomed the tourists with respect. We shared directions with strangers; we shared them with ease… down the road, past the blue house, near the stand pipe… and go over the hill where you see a rum shop… go through the gap and you will see a house with a verandah… Back in the day, we were our brothers and sisters keepers. We kept our doors open that people could come in. Families were three generations, families were extended. Everybody was auntie or uncle,” said Taylor.
But things have changed, Taylor explained:
“Nowadays, our pride is more materialistic. We have an abundance of things. We have a big wall house to store all these things that we have. We have high walls to secure the things we have accumulated. We have become ‘big up’. Yes, the walls are so thick that we cannot hear the cries of those outside the perimeter of our homes. The walls are so high that we no longer know our neighbour. Can you imagine what our parents would say if we didn’t speak to our neighbour? We don’t speak to our neighbours. They have become unapproachable. We don’t care what happens unless it comes to our doorstep. Is this the sense of pride that our forefathers envisioned? Are we so prideful as to set apart from each other? We are now on the internet ordering things from Amazon and embracing American values. Clearly, the community is changing. Families are holding down more than one job and the children are forsaken… We need to be humble. We need to get back to the basics.”
Besides the sermon, the program of the service also included hymns, scriptures, poetic and musical tributes. Additionally, the new Consul General, Mr Oral Holder, was introduced by John Blackman. Holder read the Independence Message of Prime Minister Mottley. The service was held at 4 p.m.on Thanksgiving Sunday.
Walter Edey is an author and retired Educator who believes that structural thinking is the wave of the future.