SEPTEMBER CELEBRATIONS 2012: National Discourse Print E-mail
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Written by Dr. Oliver Ottley   
Thursday, 06 September 2012 00:00

By Dr. Oliver Ottley, District Superintendent Emeritus, Church of the Nazarene

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12a).

Quo vadis, Belize?

Dear Fellow Belizeans, 

It’s time once again to contemplate what we celebrate each September: A settlement which began in the early 1620s;  A territorial victory on September 10, 1798; British colonial status in 1862; and our Independence from Britain on September 21, 1981 which settled Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity: historically politically and internationally. This was the general understanding notwithstanding any prior unfulfilled agreement between Britain and Guatemala whose own independence from Spain was not until 1821.

In recent times a few have been relegating the Battle of St. George’s Caye to a myth. Many have likewise relegated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to a myth.  In each case the deniers insist that there is no proof.  Refusal to accept written history, not to mention the reports of eye witnesses and “many infallible proofs,” conceivably presupposes that there is an ulterior motive. With regards to the Battle of St. George’s Caye, two pieces of definitions taken from different dictionaries should help those who may still be in a quandary: 

Oxford: A prolonged fight between large organized armed forces.
Webster’s: Engagement, action between opposing forces.

These two definitions make for a wide spectrum of battle classifications. What happened between those who represented Spain and those of the Settlement in the Bay of Honduras in 1798, whatever was the magnitude, the retreat of the former was decisive and final. That is why we are what we are, neither Mexicans nor Guatemalans. We are Belizeans! It behoves us, therefore, to celebrate what is absolutely our patrimony!

This year, as we celebrate, thoughts of the longstanding, unjust Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory still lingers. It has now come up for review with a call for bilateral and simultaneous referenda to decide whether or not to send the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), not for advice but for arbitration  The Reporter’s Editorial of July 15 suggests a concept that the political leaders of Guatemala might be contemplating an ICJ decision that would free their country of this quagmire of more than a hundred years, and bring about a mutual agreement that “Belize is of greater value to Guatemala as a friend than as a foe.“ The Editorial also says:  “The reverse is also true . . .”   This is a concept of mutual respect for a sovereign and independent Belize with all of its territory intact.

Be that as it may, or may not be contemplated in Guatemala, should the matter go to the ICJ and the decision is for any transference of, or interference with the Belize we have known, our territorial integrity and the oft repeated affirmation of “not one square centimetre”, and our much loved patriotic song, “God’s Goodness Gave this Land to Me” will be history; unless God intervenes and defends us.  And will He not? He has done it before. Ponder the lyrics of Robert Grant’s immortal hymn, “O Worship the King.”  Four stanzas are given below. Sing to your familiar tune and mark the four appellations attributed to God in the last line: “Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”
O worship the King, all glorious above;
And gratefully sing His power and his love:
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendour, and girded with praise.

 O tell of his might, and sing of his grace,
 Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form,
And dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender! how firm to the end!
Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
            --Robert Grant (italics added for emphasis

The first two stanzas speak of God; the other two speak to God. Every line arouses a spirit of worship; the last line invokes a paean of praise!!!  Robert Grant (1778-1838) was not a clergyman; he was a British lawyer and politician, a Christian, a poet, and devoutly biblical. This is epitomized in the lyrics of “The Starry Firmament on High.” Check the lyrics on the Internet if you need to. The last stanza crescendos to a compelling climax!

But fixed for
everlasting years,
Unmoved among the
wrecks of spheres,
Thy word shall shine in cloudless day,
When heaven and
earth have away.
  - Robert Grant

May the Spirit of God fill our hearts, and by His grace enable us to love even those who unjustly seek to dispossess and deprive us of our patrimony; and may they be transformed by the renewing of their minds. (cf. Romans 12-2, adopted).

A concluding concern: There is far too much ungodliness in Belize. God is calling the ungodly to repentance and faith, and to become worthy citizens of a nation whose God is the Lord.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!