“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28.
What remarkable vision it is to the eyes and sweet-sounding music to the ears, hearing and seeing of agricultural ventures being innovated by our government and Ministry of Agriculture.
They are offering free seedlings, free agricultural machineries to help till and plough the lands, free instructions for planting and growing crops for food to feed the families, villages and perhaps the whole community come out of Covid-19 lockdown desperation.
We are seeing and hearing many of our MPs, community leaders and planters, both in Rarotonga and the outer islands, jumping up with joyous enthusiasm to grab the opportunity to not only grow our own food.
Landowners offering their vacant and unplanted lands, positively turning Covid-19 downturn to Growing-20 upturn.
Simultaneously, blow our minds and hearts reaping and harvesting joy and gratitude, over our Ministry of Health, in collaboration with our government and all traditional, religious, non-government organisations, business stakeholders, private and ad hoc bodies and foremost New Zealand government, together towing this lifeline of rescue from this most devastating pandemic.
We are named among the few nations of the world still clear of the coronavirus, with 300 Cook Islands returnees still to undergo stringent health precautionary measures.
We continue to uphold them in our many prayers as they patiently endure and persevere to reach a triumphant and victorious end for all of us.
A couple of scriptures I wish to convey and encourage them all after having already been isolated in New Zealand beyond the expected time: “But grow ye in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
And: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Global economic, political, travel, business, social, church, health, education, sports, show-business, tourism and family relationships are sorely restrained.
But many from their locked-down living quarters, verandas, balconies, backyards and internet networks have come out stronger as individuals and families.
Singing, dancing, doing all kinds of fun incentives, positively messaging out to an almost crippled and paralysed world a message of hope: that we as fellow human beings still have God-given, God-blessed and God-inbuilt potential to turn negative into positive.
We can turn impossibility into possible means, futility into usefulness, bitterness into bitter-sweetness, doom into bloom, fear into faith and lawlessness to Godliness.
God at the very end of his creation of the heavens and earth at first sight only saw that it was all good. Humanity too was, extraordinarily, very good.
Many thousands of years down the road humanity, supposed to be the crown of God’s creation, set everything to ruin and certainly was blasphemous in the face of Almighty God.
Jesus Christ in Luke’s Gospel 17:26-27 reminds us: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”
Humanity still, in its own ignorance, arrogance, greed and pride, refused to learn the sad and hard lesson. Yet to another generation of people Jesus continued: “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:28-30)
The two world wars, all civil wars, tribal, religious and ethnic wars that cost millions upon millions of human lives, were all made by humans, again out of human greed, ignorance, ego and certainly human pride.
Again, the Word of God in James 4:1-3: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come thy not hence, even of your lusts that was in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
As we stand in our own respective homes and yards in respect and honour of Anzac Bay, in remembrance of our many fallen war heroes who fought for our freedom, peace and liberty today, let our prayers be but for the whole world to ‘learn war no more’; for the Prince of Peace and Righteous God Jesus Christ to take precedence in all our hearts and lives.
The coronavirus pandemic is of no surprise either, coming out of a godless society that has absolutely no value for human lives, most especially those in the lower, powerless and vulnerable level in their own society.
Out of all the many disasters that sinful man has caused and brought upon himself, God always has remnants to carry out his purposes to the day when he shall reward all according to the works that they have done, whether good or evil, according to his Word.
Out of the evil Covid-19 pandemic, we see a much-abused and depleted world slowly recovering, restoring, regrowing back to its former glory – airways less polluted and cleaner than ever was, waterways crystal clear than before, marine life, variety of species and creatures of all kinds restoring, human lives more homely, integrated and intimate than ever before, people praying more and acknowledging the Almighty God of Creation more than ever before to just name the few positive aspects of earthly and human growth at this time and season of our human existence.
Let us continue praying and waving off this Covid-19 pandemic goodbye and positively usher in a positive Grow 2020 prosperity – grow our economy back, our agriculture, our businesses, education, health, tourism, industries, families, all else but above all, that Christ might have the pre-eminence in all we do from now and onwards.
God’s major objective is a healthy Earth and goodness towards all humankind. His ultimate will is that none should perish but that all should come to repentance and be saved for ever in Jesus Christ!
God save, protect and preserve our paradise Cook Island and all nations and people of the world.
Kia Orana e Kia Manuia rava!
Bishop Tutai Pere, Apostolic Church