With glee, last Sunday, Christian faithful across the globe commemorated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. In the various Christian denominations in Nigeria, priests and the laity prayed that Christ’s resurrection would roll away sins, challenges and bitterness of the adherents.
As the thunderous shout of ‘Amen’ rent the air, I looked at the mammoth congregation and wondered whether all the people actually rose with Christ? With the gross exhibition of undesirable lifestyles, nauseating behaviour, ill-manners by people towards their spouses, lovers, relatives, colleagues, business associates and friends, how many can beat their chest and truly say that their attitude shows that they rose with Christ Jesus from the tomb?
As the sermon became more intense, there was pin-drop silence in the auditorium. Yet the question remained: how many people in the congregation dropped their immoralities at the church and took the risen Christ home with them? After shouting, dancing and singing halleluiah to the high heavens, many went back and continued in their unforgiving spirit while proclaiming they rose with Christ. The standard, simple practices expected of a man or woman with soul and conscience are lacking in so many.
Just like women who deny their husbands sexual pleasure because of a slight misunderstanding, have you risen with Christ? Imagine when a man is standing strong on his complete length, very ready to explore the oil rig, instead of leading and guiding him religiously to the Promised Land to have a smooth sail, he would meet red-brick wall of Jericho that refused to fall down. The man would beg as if his life depends on that exploration, yet, Madam would hire the heavy-duty vehicles, including trailers, containers on ‘Oshodi-Apapa’ expressway, to create a gridlock and prevent her man from the expedition. She simply closed her shop. When hearts that should beat as one begin beat in disharmony, then there is fire on the mountain. A wife that has risen with Christ would give forgiveness its true expression in the marital relationship and dismantle all roadblocks, leave every pain and anger at the altar, knowing that through Christ the union would be transformed.
Correspondingly, all other women who are engaged in extra-marital affairs with other men should not rejoice in this season because you are far from the real essence of the celebration. Take a walk immediately from your home and do not serve two masters at the same time. If you are caught, you cannot win the case no matter how hard you try to defend your action. The African value system strictly frowns on such immoral acts.
Similarly, men who do not pay their bills, and are, therefore, not taking care of their families, have not risen with Christ. The Bible says, “any man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel.” Men who are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves his church, but instead go into adulterous relationships, where they cavort and frolic with side-chicks, have simply not risen with Christ. Again, a man who loves his wife would not sacrifice her for money ritual. Men who boastfully tell stories about the various types of ‘soups’ they have eaten, have not risen with Christ Jesus, but are still deeply rooted in sin. The consequence of harbouring a strange woman has never been palatable because lack of self-control is the reason men refuse to zip-up responsibly.
Where will one place a Christian mother who maligns the daughter of her co-wife and then tries to turn the attention of the prospective suitor of the co-wife’s daughter away and then presents her own daughter to him? Has such a woman risen with Christ? Other women’s children are bad except yours. When other women’s children excel academically, you are jealous and add a negative vibe to their success. You have a competitive spirit instead of appreciating the progress of others. You are a Christian mother who works against the rules of your husband and his family. You have nothing to offer except to mislead, look the other way and cover up your children’s ill manners, yet you claim you have risen with Christ. If you are in the habit of maltreating your young in-laws, house-helps, shop assistants, or business associates, you have not risen with Christ.
Other sets of people who have not risen with Christ are bosses in offices and businesses, both men and women, who do not pay salaries, jeopardize the welfare of staff, take bribe and make amorous advances to female workers, promote on the basis of relationship not hard work, you have not risen with Christ.
Youths who are deeply engaged in cybercrime, same-sex illicit relationship, prostitution of all sorts and drug-addiction obviously did not rise with Christ on the resurrection morning. When rival cultists kill and maim each other as students, when examination malpractice remains the only way to succeed in school, when pilfering is baptised with other names, do such anti-social acts reflect Christ-like nature?
Members of school managements who short-change students by embezzling the funds meant for feeding them, clearly did not rise with Christ. In such situations, you find that if N1 million was budgeted for feeding the students per week, the school management would divert part of it to other purposes that are not beneficial to the students. The result is that the students’ rations significantly decrease in size and quality. The same can be said of civil servants and other people in governance who embezzle public funds: they did not rise with Christ. People in financial institutions whose body, soul and spirit are engulfed with stealing other people’s money, you are still buried in the tomb. Go and mend your ways and rise with Christ Jesus.
Siblings who do not see each other eyeball to eyeball, hello, did you rise with Him on Easter Sunday? It is not for nothing that a brother poisoned his own brother to death because he was doing better academically. In another consequence, a brother diabolically inflicted his brother with mental illness out of jealousy, bitterness and wickedness of the heart. What about a lady who engaged in tryst with sister’s husband and got pregnant in the process? Imagine the horrific embarrassment such outcome caused the family of the two sisters.
Builders who collect money and buy poor quality materials that lead to building collapse, did you rise with Christ? Artisans, caterers who collect money from clients and present poor quality stuff have not risen with Christ.
Lying tongues, gossip kings and queens, spiritual masters and mistresses, filthy beings, young and old;, based on your attitude and conduct were you qualified to celebrate on that resurrection morning? Dirty people and environment was the reason a Rev. Fr. warned his early morning-Mass congregants to wake up earlier and clean up before coming to service. “Wake up earlier, brush your mouth before coming to receive the Holy Communion, Our God is not a filthy God. It was that bad.
Equally, did all business people rise with Jesus? The ambition to own the whole world, the competition and worship of deities in businesses are not funny. When fraud takes over genuine businesses, people do terrible things while fronting wares to cover up illicit business affairs.A business man was caught by security operatives in one of the big popular markets, where he was pounding a day old baby boy in a mortar with pestle for business prosperity. When the word ‘business’ encompasses all sorts, it become difficult to separate the boys from men. It is not a judgmental piece, but a call for repentance, forgiveness, acceptance and turning a new leaf. We all need to do soul searching and change our ways, then and only then would our celebration have true meaning.