Religion

Independence messages 

PROUD TO BE A BAHAMIAN

“With faith in God and faith in our country and people, we can rise to whatever height we aspire to, and these can be achieved by our continuing efforts.” These are the words of our country’s first prime minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, on the occasion of our first Independence Day in 1973. God has indeed been faithful to our country over these 49 years since our flag was first hoisted over our land. We have so much to be grateful for and yet we have so much more to do.

The collective effort which has brought our country from multiple enclaves to busy cities, and our citizens to world-class contributors in every genre – from academics to entertainment to sports – is still needed today. We cannot stop the momentum passed on to us by those whose vision it was to see our country self-governed and its people free to excel. This generation of Bahamians has set before it the task of handing off a country, to those who follow, with a hope they will leave it better than they received it. This means that we must all understand that what divides us into our various silos must take a back seat to the common good. We have endured much loss and turmoil in recent memory and many of our people are yet to recover. We are also currently affected by global conflict, inflation and a soaring cost of living. However, our national focus cannot shift from lifting people out of poverty, bolstering the middle class and ensuring that our economy expands to accommodate our needs and aspirations.

The book of Chronicles 7:14 states, “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.”

We cannot forget our roots and the fact that our country’s founding is grounded in Christian principles. We must pray for guidance as we move forward. We must pray for our leaders and that God will show our country and its people mercy; that He will buffer our nation from the troubles that transpire around us internationally as we attempt to recover from the ravages of Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19. We must pray that more of our people will understand that they have been born or brought here, in this special place, for a reason. We can no longer idly watch as our country stands in need of expertise and talents that God has intentionally blessed us with. Progress takes vision, effort and cooperation. Your country needs you.

As we enter the final stretch before we celebrate half a century of nationhood, we should be proud of our achievements. As we watch the occurrences around the world today, the fragility of democracy is on vivid display. Bahamians have successfully remained a democratic nation and have guarded the pillars of our democracy. We must admit, The Bahamas is a unique place, its beauty and potential is unmatched. Our rich culture and history are peppered with courageous people and events which impacted the world. We remain a welcoming, intelligent, hardworking and resilient people who fundamentally believe that Christ died for our sins and came that we might have life more abundantly.

Isaiah 40:31 states, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

I firmly believe that better days are yet to come for this country. We have overcome turbulence and challenges and are still here moving forward whether it be at our chosen pace. There is no doubt in my mind that the God that began this good work called the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will see it through.

I wish every Bahamian and those who call this country home a very happy 49th Independence Day. May God bless you and may God continue to bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

– Bishop Delton Fernander,

Bahamas Christian Council president

WHY I AM PROUD TO BE BAHAMIAN

Mature Christian thought has led me to the conclusion that the God of our faith, who created and directs all things, did so for His ultimate glory.

A Bahamian citizen anywhere on this globe should affirm and assert his or her love for their country, primarily because this is the place God, by divine providence, ordained him or her to be.

It is puerile to wish one had been born anywhere else, because that contradicts what God has already done.


A favored place

I love The Bahamas because history and geography have favored our national development. North of our Caribbean brothers and south of the great United States, I believe was God-ordained.

When Christopher Columbus was lost on his journey to the “New World” – providence directed his ships to land here in The Bahamas.

The rediscovery of this place was God’s way to redeem Mr. Columbus’ mistake to expand the new world.

One of the greatest acts of freedom and liberation the last 100 years was the release of Nelson Mandela from a South African prison. The global accord to initiate Mr. Mandela’s freedom was signed in 1985 right here in our little Bahamas.

Personally, I was privileged to meet Mr. Mandela on two occasions and each time, he was the one to highlight that historical fact.


The Bahamas’ divine connection

Divine connection begets human possibilities. The fact that we call ourselves a Christian nation places us ahead of most of the world.

The pursuit of godliness has not yet influenced all areas of Bahamian life, but to declare ourselves Christian, indicates that Christian ideals remain our goal.

It is that God-connection begets human possibilities on a personal and national level.

I love our Bahamas because the worst about us cannot eclipse or erase the best about us.

I love this country because my personal aspirations are part of the collective aspirations of this country.

The ideals I hold for myself – hope, faith, excellence and an indomitable spirit – are all high ideals I hold for my country multiplied 400,000 times over.

I love the place I was born and live – its many problems and challenges, notwithstanding.

I am proud to be a Bahamian and work each day, so this Bahamas will one day be proud of me.

As we celebrate the 49th anniversary of our independence, and head into our 50th golden jubilee, let us rededicate ourselves to be patriotic to our nation’s highest ideals, so that we give no space to exploitation, hatred, avarice and violence.

Our upward look to the God who created and placed us here will influence our positive, outward look toward each other.

I is a Bahamian.

– Bishop Simeon B. Hall

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