“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”(Matthew 26:39) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), (Mark 15:34) “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34) “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) “Dear woman, here is your son, …
Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27) “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) “It is finished.” (John 19:30) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The preceding statements Christ made seem to capture the ordeal on the cross to demonstrate how enormously significant the cross is to our lives. Interestingly, Easter celebration was a few days ago, but I hope it served as an immense opportunity to many of us for self-reflection on our daily lives so that we may be able to discern the inherent inconsistencies that have perennially permeated our activities.
Shrilly, there is a recurring line in the story of death and resurrection of Christ that seems to be mysterious on how it can unfold in the lives of people. Everyone’s life contains a story of a beginning and an end. But to unlock the period of the new beginning and sustain it till the end seems to be an eternal mystery. Chirpily, there is an inalienable assurance of hope and victory in the recurring line of Easter if applied genuinely to the story of our lives. Easter, signifying the death and resurrection of Christ, indicates that the purpose of the cross is the washing away of our sins, particularly of the Christian faith, through the grace of God.
It has been taught that death and resurrection respectively signify the death of our sinful nature and our newness, Christ-like being. God paid the debt for our sins by sacrificing His only son to die so that we may live. He wants us to come to Him through His son, Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the forgiveness and remission of our sins. Our merciful and gracious Lord is a protective father who does not want His children to continue to swim in sin.
While Easter and Holy Communion are the yearly and weekly ineffaceable reminders to the Christians of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, partaking in the Holy Communion signifies one’s total commitment to both the symbolism and purpose of the events on the cross. If so many of these people who observe Easter hold fast to the cross, one would wonder why people who live precipitously different lives abound in our society. Well, have you been to church lately? Have you observed those walking or should I say filing to the altar to receive the Holy Communion? Or better still, have you observed the demeanor of those people walking back to their seats after receiving the Holy Communion?
If you have not, please take time to examine the sanctimonious deportment of those individuals walking back to their respective seats after a stride to altar to receive the sacrament or for atonement. I have attended occasions where Catholic Masses were served. Being an Anglican (Protestant), I did not partake in the Holy Communion served by the Reverend Father. Rather, I was a keen observer who maintained a critical distance in order to have a full view and understanding of the environment.
What I am going to say is in no way an indictment on the Catholics and may not be construed as a degradation of any religion. Please this is not an indictment on the Catholics. In any case, what attracted my attention was how people pretentiously-walking holy-to the altar to be served the Holy Communion by the Reverend Father. There was a stark difference in people’s behavior and attitude in church and outside the church. The inconsistencies were alarming. More strikingly, people do have a totally different attitude when they prepare to or when they are in the process of receiving or have received the Holy Communion.
I have watched in disgust how some people I knew put on the veil of holiness and serenity as they walked back to their respective seats. By the time the bread-the body of Christ and the wine-the blood of Christ could make their way through their esophagus, the veil of holiness was completely replaced with what was their true nature. I should say that no sooner had the veil of holiness been stripped by their true nature than their nefarious deeds and thoughts ensued. One should have thought that the manifestation of spirituality in these individuals as reflected in their countenance as they took the Holy Communion would burgeon on what was once an infertile heart. No sooner had they taken their respective seats than their precipitation of holiness evaporated.
I wish these individuals could truly lay their lives on the Potter’s hand for the ultimate molding. Ironically, it is easier to fake it than to live it! Every society has an established set of beliefs or religions that purport to set the standards, which ultimately guide individual behavior. In addition, there are laws and precepts of the society that set the standards for an acceptable behavior. All these are in vain without individual responsibility and moral obligation for one to conform to the societal obligations. However, if the society has lost its moral standing, then who ensures that there is law and order? If the center cannot hold, chaos will be an acceptable option. Most of our politicians cum leaders are bagging titles from churches and secular realm as if they could only be validated with titles and not service.
Have you been to places of worship and looked up to admire the designated seats for the “Knighthooders” as if they are holier than thou? Unfortunately, most of the churches in Nigeria have those. The private actions of these individuals are inconsistent with their public ones. These individuals trample upon the actions prescribed and required in accordance with the doctrinal principles of their faith. However, the Bible assures us that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Also, I have noticed that in some churches it is carousal-like atmosphere, but without alcoholic beverages. People are supposedly filled with the spirit and they act it.
Nevertheless, deciphering the kind of spirit the individuals are filled with will take a miracle to unlock the mystery. Undoubtedly, it is best left to the individual intoxicant to unveil the spirit behind the mask. I am not passing any judgment on any one. However, if you feel that way, please forgive my imperfection. “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Let us be driven by our faith so that our actions will be congruent with the precepts of our religion.
Let there be a new beginning in our lives. The Bibles says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15) Also, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)