(The Message Translation)
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.I want nothing to do with your religion projects,your pretentious slogans and goals.I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,your public relations and image making.I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.When was the last time you sang to me?Do you know what I want?I want justice–oceans of it.I want fairness–rivers of it.That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
“Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a dry-as-dust religion.” – MLKJR
How else can we ensure oceans of justice and rivers of fairness without accurate representation in the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of government? How can we take responsibility for doing what God wants when we have strategically placed it out of our reach?
What was God really upset with here, and what was he saying the priorities should be? I think it’s clear, don’t you think so? I think it’s so clear we might need to have to hire someone to deceive us. God is not interested in religious meetings, conferences or conventions. He doesn’t want anything to do with religious projects or pretentious slogans. He’s had enough of fund-raising schemes, public relations and image making stunts. He’s not interested in celebrity ego-music, he wants people to sing to him not about themselves or to themselves. More importantly he wants an abundance of justice and fairness – virtues we may never be able to model without playing an active role in the polity of the nation.
Don’t get me wrong, the Church in Nigeria has tried. We have supported and built a few orphanages, we have created Jobs for many people in the Church industry, we have converted unproductive warehouses into development and production centres, we have kept a lot of young minds busy, rather than idle-ing away their Sunday mornings and midweek evenings. Some of the more noble ones among us have even gone further to venture in education, health, communities and all. We have tried, or haven’t we? What worries me however is not what we have done, but what we have done compared to what we could have done! What we have done compared to what we can do! And what we have left undone! All that we do and have done pales into near insignificance when compared to what a serving governor can achieve in a few months of his/her administration. We need credible people to lead us, and what it means is that you and I must be interested, and the church cannot be silent participants anymore. We can give billions to support certain courses, but if the head is sick our investments on any part of the body will soon rot.
Oh, I understand and do know history, I know how in the past the church of God became nothing else but a political gathering, and I know that the fear of that error is enough to completely take one’s hands off it. However, the same way the church has learnt that money itself is not a bad thing, but the lust after it without recourse to ethics is what is wrong, in the same way, we must assure ourselves that if all we do is fold our fingers in the time of voting, we’ll continue to be ruled by wickedness. If we cease to be light, then our lack of expression gives permission to darkness. This is not a clarion call for community development, this is a call for taking political leadership. “Nigerian politics is dirty”, is so common a phrase, my question is how will it ever get clean if those who ought to be making change happen run away from it? The church in Nigeria has gotten more enlightened in the last 20yrs about it’s members taking their rightful place in the economy, today however we must with the same zeal and fire enlighten and empower ourselves to advance into leadership. It is shameful to have 5 star churches and world-class cathedrals in an underdeveloped country. We need to move to action, or we’ll lose our place. Or isn’t the government meant to rest on the shoulders of the body of Christ – the Government, shall be upon his shoulders?