THE CHURCH IS NEITHER A STADIUM NOR AN AMUSEMENT CENTRE

The church is like a hospital for the wounded where the Doctor Diagnoses the problems of the sick. Everybody who comes to the church is a wounded soul seeking for Jesus’ healing. In doing so, you need humility and be spiritually oriented to listen to the divine master talking to you through the priest. Everybody in the Church is on the same page with one another begging for pardon of their sins. Every person has his own prayer points. A mad man can be in the church as well as a poor man. For we all need the mercy of God. There is nobody in the church that is more superior to the others. No rich man that comes late can tell the other to leave the seat for him because there is no reserved seat in the church.

When we come to the church, we don’t come in with social values that are allergic to the culture of the church. We come to express who we are before God and to enhance ourselves spiritually so that we can touch others in the world. Our spiritual sensitivity will help us to see each other as one and we don’t see others with our tribal Barometer, otherwise we offend the divine because the church is not ethnic.

Because the man who redeemed us; Jesus is a transcultural man. Even though he was a Jewish man, he was all things to all. Because of his spiritual wonderfulness, he made us one.

So when we gather together at the Eucharistic celebration, we should be one in Christ and there should be no polarization of each other, no distinction, or Ethnic bias. We cannot make one another a scape goat in the house of God. We can’t shut people down because of our assumption of the past, the past that was not researched. We cannot allow ourselves to contract the disease of “Amebo” and infest it on our members because the church is a sacred congregation who worship God according to their life situations and imploring God to come to liberate them from situations not good for human living.

How can we hoot, hum or shout when a Priest ;( who has license to talk to us and tell us what we should not do) or those in Church authority stand on the podium to correct us? Should the Priest tone down the gospel because of the spiritually feeble minded who cannot withstand the harshness of the gospel? Should the Priest apply diplomacy while preaching? That would be a gospel of compromise! We need to listen properly before we condemn, otherwise we make a scapegoat of him who may mean well.  Assumptions are not good! Being in the church for sacred worship is not like being in the stadium or an amusement center.

In a stadium, we can say all sorts of filthy things and abuse Mikel who missed the goal or shout at Super Eagles for losing the game or praise Ronaldo who scores in every match. Our language in the stadium is different from the Language in the church. What we say in the stadium cannot be said in the Church of God because we are in a sacred assembly where Jesus is present. If we respect things, sacred places, why can’t God bless us? The unhygienic statements we make in the church, like tribal slurs can prevent us from receiving the blessings of God. It can make us come and go as we came because there were no spiritual merits in our worship. It is uncalled for, for a Christian to persistently make noise in the house of God when something is being said for our spiritual or social growth. My people, it is not spiritually Apro po. It offends one’s sensibility and it brings a divide in a church. The Eucharist helps to resolve our differences, Aggressions or our grudges against other tribes. The Eucharist joins us together in peace, Justice and Love.

When we come to the church, our hostility towards each other is dissolved into the ocean of God’s loyalty of love. Saint John said, God is love and he who loves, God is in him. The bread we eat is it not the body of Christ? Why do we continue to “re-wound” Jesus -the wounded healer. We are called to help our wounded brothers and sisters regain themselves shattered by social systems, unjust structures, Discriminations etc.

The church is the only place where we can be who we are with each other. We can’t be in a church and be fragmented. Fragmented by what people think of us. When our personal inventory is stripped of us, where shall we regain it again? Is it in a stadium, political arena, town hall? It is only in the house of God and sanctuary for all who need God. Therefore, the house of God should be respected in order to receive the healing hand of God.

VERY REV. MONSIGNOR LIVINUS UKAH

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