By Jiti Ogunye
This is an era of escapism. Men of God who, hitherto, have boasted of their spiritual prowess in curing all sorts of ailments, including HIV-AIDS, have lost their boisterous voices to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Their confidence has disappeared. Their boastfulness has evaporated. They cannot even congregate anyway. That, of course provides an alibi. They can claim that if the powers of the world -temporal powers-had allowed gatherings of the faithfuls, the Spirit of God would have moved. But these stiff necked temporal authorities would not permit gatherings. Yet, the Lord says in the Scripture in Mathew 18:20 that “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them “
But social distancing will not allow any gatherings.
In my spirit, I see a well spoken, suave, preaching-prospered, pastoring-empowered, congregants-moneyed, church- enabled, immaculately dressed, chubby-faced, and tithes- nourished man of God . I also see panic and pandemonium in the population. The cause of the panic is a strange illness, an unusual affliction that had struck.
Many are sick and many are dying. The illness is called coronavirus pandemic. Nobody is immune. Male and females. Kings, queens and princes. Presidents, governors, and prime ministers. Congressmen, senators and parliamentarians. The governing and the governed. Rich and poor. Men, women, boys and girls. And children and the elderly.
The physicians, to whom the sick and the bodily afflicted run to for cure, confess their helplessness. The scientists and researchers have no cure for the disease. They recommend that the sick must be isolated from the rest of the population, quarantined, lest the virus spreads and kills millions of people. God’s children. The temporal powers accept the recommendations and harshly enforce them. The physicians declare that in their state of isolation, the sick could only be given palliatives to help them fight the illness with their body immunities and recover, as there is no known or found cure . If some are lucky they will recover and live. Those who are not so lucky will die. Many of the physicians are dying too. The world is gripped by tragedy.
In desperation, the people, turn to God. Naturally, they decide to go through their well provisioned intermediaries. Their Holinesses. Their Bishops and Archbishops. Their Primates. Their spiritual fathers. Their Daddies in the Lord. Their General Overseers. The Prophets, Founders, Controllers and Exchequers of their respective denominations worldwide. But they are disappointed because many of them are in hiding. They claim they are giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. They have to maintain the social distancing regulation , for they have to obey temporal powers .
The people force their way. They eventually besiege a powerful man of God amongst these legions of men of God. They beseech him to heal the coronavirus infected sick in the population. The sick are in labour and heavy laden. They need a rest of healing and cure.
But the man of God looks at the multitudes and declares his impotence in curing a coronavirus disease. To the astonishment of the multitudes he says that he has not been called and he has no calling to wrestle against flesh and blood, including viruses and microbes that can only be seen by microscopes, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, and against wickedness in high places. He references Ephesians 6:12; King James Version of the Holy Bible.
He reminds the multitudes that the Scripture says believers “ shall lay hands on the sick , and they shall recover “ – Mark 16: 17, 18; but that the Coronavirus Regulations and temporal powers have forbidden shaking of hands and touching another person. Indeed, he reminds the multitudes that one is advised not to use his own hands to touch his face , nose, eyes and mouth. In the circumstances, therefore , he says , laying on of hands is not permitted .
Finally, this powerful man of God demands that the multitudes disperse for he lacks the spiritual expertise or competencies to heal the sick of their coronavirus disease.
The multitudes, faithful, children of The Most High God are dispirited. Thoroughly disappointed and frustrated . As they disperse , however, their faith does not . It remains very strong. They start to sing. At first faintly but later very loudly : All powers belong to God . All powers belong to Jesus . All powers belong to Jeeeesus. ALL POWERS BELONG TO GOD.
Suddenly I came back . Because I have been in the spirit.
-Jiti Ogunye, lawyer and human rights activist, writes from Lagos
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