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NO LAUGHING MATTER: God moves in mysterious ways


Mac Fingall

NO LAUGHING MATTER: God moves in mysterious ways

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From the time I was a little boy, I learned that God moves in mysterious ways. I don’t recall if anyone ever explained to me what that meant, but I do know that somehow I understood that God does things differently from how we human beings would do them. I also somehow felt that if God were to do things like we would do them, these things would reveal something we did not expect or could not foresee. I believe that my understanding of “mysterious” told me that.

On Tuesday, October 11, I attended the funeral of Peter Roy Byer, whom I had encountered many years ago when I called the Government Information Service (GIS) to get some video footage for a project that I was doing. I was told to hold on for a Mr Byer. A coarse voice told me to meet him on Sunday at 4 p.m. at GIS. I did not understand Sunday or 4 p.m.

However, I went, and this unhurried methodical gentleman found what I was looking for and gave me a copy to take with me. We then met again when we were both managers of calypso tents. We would have our “tent managers” meetings at his home.

The words spoken about Roy at his funeral, by different people, were all the same – and all true. There was no attempt to say only good things as is the custom at funerals. Even the priest himself said that Roy “rinsed me out on many occasions”. Everyone spoke of his bluntness. But they all also spoke of his intellect. An intellect that embodied “vision”. But was it not seen before?

My mind wandered.

Is Roy’s philosophy only now philosophical – after his death? When we quote him now, are we not quoting what he actually said then? If it is now philosophical, why was it not seen that way when he was alive? Is it because we are still blinded with the cloak of “slave mentality”? The pull-down mentality? The distrust mentality?

Would Mr Roy Byer have had to dress a particular way or have come from a particular family or have been to a particular school for those same words to be appreciated as being worthy? How long will we remain this way? All this historical knowledge, all this education, and we are still unable to free ourselves of this mental condition.

We seem not to understand how wickedly great our slave master was. We seem not to understand how deviously great a psychologist he was. We seem not to understand the “negative power” of inheritance. Are we doomed forever?

Do we know that we do not have to hate our slave master in order to break these invisible fetters? We just have to love ourselves. We just have to respect each other. We have to have confidence in ourselves.

Suddenly, my mind wandered no more, for a man – whose height did not even match the podium before which he stood – spoke. This man, Reverend Johnson, unassuming and not charismatic like those like those we have become accustomed to, was able to transfix the audience. No one dared to move – not even to cool an itch.

One could have caught chikungunya during his message for to swat a mosquito would have disrupted one’s concentration and even to kill a mosquito would have been a paradoxical act – even criminal. So powerful and appropriate was Reverend Johnson’s message on humanity. His handling of “mediocrity”, “selfishness”, “scorn of mankind and even family” and “sacrifice” had us all fully engrossed.

This message was like food for a hungry vagrant. So immersed were the pricked ears that even the proverbial “pin-dropping” would have gone unnoticed.

But where was it given? And by whom? And at whose funeral?

It was at a place which had never drawn a crowd before. Roy had invited us all there hundreds of times through his advertisements for his calypso shows. This spacious, comfortable, acoustically sound venue, with adequate parking, was hardly ever half-full.

The message was delivered by a little man of whom little is known, for I, for one, had never seen or heard of him before.

It was at the funeral of an ordinary man with an extraordinary gift. A man who we did not take seriously.

Was it a coincidence that many of the world’s greatest messengers were present? I mean those who write eternal messages in songs and those who deliver such messages in song. Or was it by design?

I do recall God using Joseph, a carpenter, to be the father of Jesus. Jesus was born in a simple manger. Jesus worked with ordinary fishermen.

I believe that this address should be televised in its entirety.

God does move in mysterious ways!

Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary schoolteacher. Email [email protected]

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