I attend a small military catholic church close to Yaba. Last Sunday I bowed my head out of church before church closed, I felt ashamed. As a Catholic I was raised to sit my butt down no matter what, until the priest gives the final blessing.
Missing ‘the mass is ended let us go in peace’ is akin to not attending church at all but I left way before that. I left after offertory. We had not even done communion. Catholics understand this.
We started at about 7am, the mass was scheduled to close by 9am, but it was 9am and we were still sitting,clapping hands over ‘chief ABC’s, Ten Thousand Naira’. This was the unveiling of the harvest theme for the year. I understand that the church has to raise funds but why are we staying 3-4 hours in church because of funds? Did they extend time for mass because of praise worship or because of the sermon? No. It’s always because of some other frivolities.
That is still not why I left though; I left because of the announcers and the priest. I couldn’t even believe what my ears heard.
‘N20,000! From N20,000 and above, come out here. If you know the lord has blessed you, come and give back to him, Chief this, Daddy that, come out, the lord knows your income. Are you going to give to God what has cost you nothing?’
‘N10,000 to N19,900, if you are looking for husband, or wife, come out now, the Lord will hear your prayers.’
N5,000 to N9,500… if you are looking for a good job, good husband and wife, come out and donate.’
Since when did we start selling blessings? When did all these start in the Catholic Church? The sermon was based on giving. If you have preached why not allow God direct people to donate? What is all the coercing and mind blackmail for?Once I went to a church program when the priest said everyone should bring everything in their purses, bags, pockets, ‘if you don’t bring everything the Lord is seeing you.’
I was already irritated before the ‘theme unveiling’ began. The person that was supposed to announce, instead of him to do his job and go, he started by informing the church that he has never been to the hospital. ‘ I have never paid hospital bills, me and my family, when we fall sick, small panadol and we are fine, the lord has been good to us.’
Yes sir, because those who fall sick, the lord hates them and is not good to them. He continued, ‘I saw a man during the week, his face was scattered, like acid was poured on it, and I said to myself is this not a human being? And I thanked God for my life.’ The congregation hummed their yes, some people lifted their hands towards the ceiling, giving thanks too.
This is what we are now? People who rejoice over the misfortune of another person? Why is it we only remember to thank God for our lives when bad things happen to other people? I remember when that petrol tanker fell at Iyana Ipaja. Houses and shops were burnt down. Someone whose house was along the line of the fire but the fire stopped few feet before his own went about rejoicing, he called people to thank God with him and the people who went about saying, ‘our God is faithful, our God is faithful, God of *insert church* is too good to us.’
We make God out to be an unfair father. Punish A, save B. when we know we are all sinners because as 2face sang; nobody holy pass.
So, that Sunday it was already 9am. The priest and all those in charge of the harvest were not done and didn’t look like they had plans to hurry up.They continued, ‘if you are looking for a good job, husband, wife, children, whatever you are looking for, N5000 and above come out now.’ I had brought a non-Catholic friend with me to church that day. I was ashamed and that was the breaking point for me. I gathered my bulletin and purse and went home with guilt trailing me.
P.S I learnt a new prayer point from the MFM near my house: Holy Ghost fire, roar at my enemies, Roar! Roar!! Roar!!!
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Lagos is full of tribalism o – Lucia Edafioka