This has been “History and Heritage Week” in St. Kitts and Nevis. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Religious Heritage.” The organizers, participants and the sponsor, SKNA National Bank, have performed a priceless public service by giving the people of the Federation a reminder of their collective roots at a time when the veneer of prosperity is undermined by deep and troubling questions about current actions and beliefs.
Increasing crime and changes in traditional family structures have many people questioning their core beliefs and looking fearfully toward the future. To many, it is easy to remember a time when there was less material success but greater social cohesion and a firmer sense of belonging. In reality, the past was never as good as we recall, yet it can be deeply appealing if the present is uncertain and the future appears bleak.
Running like a stream of hope through all of this is faith.
With full acknowledgement of the right of all people to choose their own faith, or to choose no faith, or not to believe at all, public acknowledgement of the impact of religion is important today. Much wickedness has been perpetrated in the name of religion, yet its positive effect on so many lives cannot be ignored. It has withstood oppression, helped in education, cared for the needy and opened some of the finest minds in history to the marvelous possibilities before us. It has opened doors of hope and given us great cause for optimism.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said.
For so many, that light and love is best found in religious expression.
We hope that the discussion of the importance of religion in all our lives will continue long after this week has passed. Should we need a reminder, we need look no further than the first Psalm:
1: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2: But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4: The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5: Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6: For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
No one need perish if all of us can find cause to rejoice in what is right.