Thursday, January 26, 2012

St Ignominious

Back in August 2000, a priest was explaining how a Christian Nation could also be a Police State…

                 St Ignominious

It was rather late when Sara and I slipped into the Sunday morning service at St Ignominious. The congregation was just beginning the Lord’s Prayer ...

Our Christian Nation, which art in Zambia,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy terror come
To us in Lusaka, as it is in Jerusalem.
Save us each day from daily dread,
And forgive our legislators,
As we forgive those who legislate against us;
Protect us from the Secret Police,
And deliver us from evil.

By now Father Mupulumpunshi was already in the pulpit, ready to begin one of his meandering sermons ...

‘As we sit here this morning in the Church of the Most Magnificent Deity, many of you have been asking yourselves whether things have really changed for the better since we became a Christian Nation. Do we have Good Governance? Do we have God’s Governance?

‘Look into your soul, and ask yourself honestly. Was your faith shaken when you turned on your radio this morning, and heard that armed police had invaded the house of Bululu Mwila? Admit a small sinful thought! Did you not say to yourself that it reminded you of the Mad Munshumfwa’s Dictatorship, rather than the Good Governance of God?

But I say to you,’ he cried, raising his arms to Heaven, ‘where is your faith? Where is your loyalty? Who are we, as mere mortals, to question the Most Magnificient Deity?

‘I know what you thought!’ he trumpeted, ‘when the Chief of Police could not explain it, and the Minister of Home Affairs knew nothing about it! I can see it in your eyes,’ he said, leaning forward and pointing an accusing finger at the congregation. ‘You thought that they were evil men, and that they were lying!

‘Oh ye of little faith! Have you not considered that they were struck dumb by the sight of a miracle! Was this not the angels of the Lord descending on a sinner? The Great Shepherd descending on his flock! What could mere mortals say about an Act of God! Theirs was the silence of the lambs!

‘When the Lord sends his Heavenly Police to descend directly to deal with sinners, he does not need to inform the Chief of Police or the Minister! Let alone the Magistrate! The Lord does not need a search warrant! I refer you to the Word of God! I ask you, where is the Magistrate’s Court in the Book of Genesis?

‘Do you think because the Heavenly Police found nothing, then the raid was a waste of time? Think again! If the Lord visits you tomorrow night and finds nothing, are you innocent? Instead of faith, he finds nothing! Instead of belief, he finds nothing! Instead of blind loyalty, he finds nothing! Then you are guilty! How then will you get to Heaven? Will you not go to Hell?

‘So it was with Bululu Mwila. The Heavenly Police searched his house all night and found nothing. Neither bible nor hymn book. Neither prayer book nor liturgy. Neither rosary nor crucifix. Not even a picture of Our Lord! The house of a fallen sinner!

‘Our Lord is a fisherman, and every night he must go on his fishing expeditions. But before you scorn a fallen sinner, ask yourself if you are ready to be visited by the Heavenly Fishermen.

He raised up his eyes, and addressed the stained glass windows with fervour. ‘But for the righteous amongst us, the Lord is our shepherd, and we are his sheep. We must follow him, and obey his every word. If we have blind loyalty and faith, then we need not fear the Heavenly Police.

‘So that is my message to you today. Now all rise to sing Psalm 23.’

As the organ struck the first note, we all burst into song ...

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not scream,
He makes me down to lie;
On Nondo’s swing he tortures me
The quiet waters by.

My house he doth invade again
And me to walk doth make;
Under the threat of pointed gun
Even for my Leader’s sake.

Yea, when I walk in death’s dark vale
Then I shall fear much ill;
For he is with me, and his rod
And staff are meant to kill.

Torment and terror all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in Red Brick forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.

Dark clouds scurried across the sky as Sara and I hurried away from the church.

‘What do you think to the priest’s question?’ I asked. ‘Do you think God has really taken over?’

‘Difficult to say,’ she said. ‘Either God or the Devil.’

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