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Come, lewwe dance nuh!

The following homily was preached by Archbishop Emeritus Robert Rivas OP on February 11 at the Church of the Nativity, Crystal Stream, Petit Valley.

 

“LEWWE DANCE NUH!”

“Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him…” (Mk 1:41).

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ, tonight is the night of the Monarchs and the finals of the Kings and Queens of Carnival. It’s Dimanche Gras!

Last night was PAN night at the Savannah! The steelpan glittered and the sound was captivating. We had the best of the best in pan. It was Panorama night. We have created our own musical instrument that expresses the soul and heartbeat of our people.

Last night, our nation and our world were stimulated by the music of sweet pan. Moments like these ought not to be missed. Panorama is a cultural explosion. It’s Carnival! Our National Festival and our youth, our nation’s future, are at the heart of the pan culture that requires discipline, commitment, musical talent, and love for our culture! Let’s celebrate! Groove to the rhythm of scintillating pan! “Come, lewwe dance nuh!”

Pan Alive

Pan Music

Pan Personified

Pan Groove

Pan Melodic

Pan Rhythmic

Pan Graceful

Pan Cool

Pan Smooth

Pan Characters

Pan Dancers

Pan Soul

Pan Sweet

Pan Art

Pan Culture

Pan Power

Pan Captivating

Pan Invigorating

Pan Nostalgic

Pan Vibes

Pan, Lewwe Celebrate Pan

Pan, Alleluia!

AH LOVE MEH PAN!

Culture is a vital part of the soul of a people. It’s what defines us as a people. Pan culture was born out of experiences of freedom, creativity, and self-expression.

Pan is now on a global stage and has taken our culture to the rest of the world. With Soca, Calypso, and Carnival our culture has enriched other cultures. Trinidad and Tobago is blessed and we must celebrate our heritage and be grateful for our blessings.

At Carnival, the best and sometimes the worst in our culture find their way on stage. But isn’t that familiar in a world of light and darkness? What we need to ensure is that the darkness does not obliterate the light.

We have to keep our standards high and not settle for mediocrity. The stakes for moral values and standards are too high to settle for less.

Listening attentively to the Gospel today (Mk 1:40–45), we realise that we cannot treat our culture, including our Carnival culture like a LEPER. Instead of standing hands off at a distance we need to do what Jesus did: reach out and touch what is sick, undesirable, and unwholesome in our Carnival culture with compassionate and healing hands.

How could God heal our nation if we are afraid to reach out daringly and touch its brokenness?

Who sings Calypsos? Who makes us laugh and want to sing? Who makes us shake, put up we hand and make we want to dance: Teja, Machel, Nadia, Rudder, Sparrow, Rose, and Kitchener! “Lewwe dance nuh!”

Listen now to this unknown calypsonian:

 

O beautiful country!

O God, bless this land.

Fill us daily with gratitude

and faith to be strong.

Never let us forget where we came from:

heritage, history, identity.

O God, heal this land

and make my steps safe.

Ah so proud and happy am coming home,

to be who I am.

Ah so proud and happy am coming home,

to be who I am.

Pam Pam Pam pa lam! (x 2)

Pam Pam Pam pa lam Pam Pam Pam,

Pam Pam Pam pa lam!

Pam Pam Pam Pam pa lam Pam Pam Pam,

Pam Pam Pam pa lam! (x2)

Pam pa lam!

(The Mighty Emeritus)

 

When Jesus healed the leper, He wanted him to stay quiet about the healing but he needed to show himself to the priest who was like the district doctor who could issue a certificate stating that he was cleansed and could return to his family and community after making his offerings in the temple in Jerusalem.

On his way to do all he had to do, the leper, who was now healed, began to broadcast the marvellous deed that Jesus had done for him by the power of God. Leprosy in the Old Testament and in the time of Jesus created social distancing and was dehumanising like when our world was on lock down through Covid-19. We have received our vaccines, taken off our masks and can play we mas again!

In healing the leper, Jesus broke down the social and religious stigma associated with leprosy. Our culture brings us together and is a great opportunity for breaking down social barriers and healing the stigmas, prejudices and divisions that may exist among us.

This is our time to be proud of our culture, share our joy with others and while we enjoy the Carnival let us be our sisters’ and our brothers’ keeper.

 

Lewwe dance nuh!

I feel Ah could run in town again,

jump and shake the ground again

Wave with all my friends and them,

no place like home, home, home

I feel I could run in town again,

jump and shake the ground again

Wave with all my friends and them,

no place like home , home, home.

No place like home (home, home, home!)

Jesus knew that so he cleansed the leper so he could go home and be with his family and take his place in the worshipping community again. Jesus’ mission was to bring wholeness into people’s lives.

Worldwide there are about 208,000 lepers mainly in developing countries. There are still many people waiting to be touched, to be accepted, to be healed. We need to find the ‘outsider’ in our lives, our leper, and reach out to that person with compassion and care.

Remember “home, home, home… HOME is the place where we live together as family in dignity and where we care for one another.

Come, lewwe dance nuh!