Covid-19 & Church Closure: You Can Still Go About, As Jesus Went About, Doing Good, Healing The Sick & Raising The Dead
letter to Pastor Giwa, by udems
Dear Pastor Adewale Giwa, sir, I have just read your statement: “Open churches let’s heal Coronavirus patients – Pastor Giwa tells President Buhari” (as published on http://www.dailypost.ng). ▪️Urging the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to open churches in Nigeria to enable pastors heal all coronavirus patients in the country, you reportedly wrote: “if there is nothing that the government is hiding anything from the people, let them reopen the churches and bring the victims to the house of God.”
▪️With due respect, sir, your statement is insensitive, unreasonable, unbiblical and therefore unsupportable. ▪️You know the various COVID-19 isolation centers in Nigeria or within the state in which you reside. ▪️Why have you not gone to any one of them and administered the cure you talk about, or other assistance as you may be able to render? ▪️Or, are you saying that Pastors of God cannot or do not cure/heal people outside the church compound? ▪️We are followers of Jesus and we must take after him, emulating all his footsteps.
▪️In 1 Peter 2:21 Bible reminds us of how JESUS had left us “an example for you to follow in His steps.” ▪️We ought therefore to walk in the same manner as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6); we must be “imitators of ... Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). ▪️Now, I ask you, dear Pastor, how many people did Jesus cure or heal inside any church?▪️Did Jesus even own his own personal church? ▪️Yet, preaching under trees, on the main road , in towns and villages, Jesus, the Christ, our Lord and Saviour (who was later to submit himself to be insulted, ridiculed and ultimately killed all for our sins) still cured, healed thousands of people in their homes, on the roads, on the streets, in markets , and everywhere. ▪️He even raised the dead, outside the church▪️
Pastor, I admire your reference to the Bible book of Matthew 4:24, in support of your case/call: “They brought to Jesus all who were sick, afflicted with various diseases and torments, possessed with demons, epileptics, and paralytics; and he healed them”
▪️However, dear Pastor Giwa, you didn’t disclose where Jesus was at that material time, when those who were afflicted were “brought to him.” ▪️Was he inside a church? ▪️May I now remind you of how JESUS had gone about, to all corners and quarters, “doing good,” healing the sick and the afflicted and raising the dead. ▪️In Acts 10:38 (King James Version) Bible puts it more succinctly: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
▪️Dear Pastor Giwa, if Jesus (our role model) could go about to all corners and quarters, to lay hands on the sick, why wouldn’t you be able to step out into the isolation centers and give a helping hand to COVID-19 patients? ▪️Why demand that unless they’re brought to your church, you won’t help? ▪️Is that selfishness, insensitive, unreasonable?
▪️Anyway, one major thing I remember (and it is remarkable) about Jesus and the Church is how the Christ had gone to a church and met church leaders paying more heed and attention to money and material things, and how He had got so enraged with them that He declared (see Matthew 21:13), “My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”▪️Dear Pastor Giwa, Jesus, the Christ, our saviour, was right.
▪️Fake and false prophets, Fathers, priests, prophets, and pastors in Nigerian (not all are false) have converted the Church (the house of God) into a den of thieves where all they do is to deceive, mislead and extort mostly innocent, gullible, undiscerning, hopeless, helpless and harpless Nigerians. ▪️Yet, there is no doubt that Churches and Mosques would be opened, for “business” to continue as usual. Sure. ▪️But I support that governments should reopen them when government feels it is safe to do so, in the interest of citizens, and not because of this your needless call
▪️Meanwhile, I just hope your true intentions in calling for a hurried reopening of churches, is not so that you continue from where you had stopped, in collection of tithes, offerings, bazaar donations, levies and all sorts of other unjust payments. ▪️If you say it’s not, then I suggest you calm down and wait a little; alternatively, you can go out (as Jesus went out) into the isolation centers and cure all COVID-19 patients thereby ridding Nigeria of this dreaded scourge and paving the way for a much-earlier reopening of the church and other places of worship▪️Meanwhile, dear Pastor Giwa, permit me to express my displeasure at your having ignored schools and the education of our children, both of which have been ground to a total halt as a result of lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic. ▪️
You are calling for church reopening and do not seem to care a hoot whether or not schools are reopened. ▪️Yes, all you care about is reopening of the church! ▪️That is bizarre, selfish, in my opinion, and quite against the Biblical injunction that men and children of God should “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit (see Philippians 2:3-8).▪️
But, more sadly, it also explains why there are more churches in Nigeria than schools and why the one Emir who had called that some mosques should be converted to schools, was in no time thrown out. ▪️Further, I can see why Nigeria is stagnant, and making no progress but looking up to only “men of God” for all solutions to our problems. ▪️Dear Pastor Giwa, I respectfully advise you to use your tongue to count your teeth; and tell yourself the truth. ▪️Conscience is an open wound; only the truth can heal it (per Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio: 1754-1816). ▪️
Although the French symbolist writer, Jean-Marie-Mathias-Philippe-Auguste, comte de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam (1838 –1889) had argued that “there are some wounds that one can heal only by deepening them and making them worse,” I prefer to agree with what REBECCA WEST wrote in the book, THE HARSH VOICE: “nobody likes having salt rubbed into his wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth.” ▪️The reason is quite simple: “you can't patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid,” says Michael Connelly). ▪️
The problem with the band-aid (to wounds) is that the band-aid would slowly rip off, and the wound would remain unhealed; so, of what use is such temporary measure that brings no permanent solutions. ▪️Besides, as experience has shown, certain wounds can't heal if you keep touching them. ▪️And, as Sue Fitzmaurice said, “Our wounds can so easily turn us into people we don't want to be."
▪️Dear Pastor Giwa, stop insulting our intelligence and sensibilities. ▪️Go out and “heal the sick” as the Holy Book has commanded all true men of God, or stay quiet and wait for Government to do its work. ▪️Thank you, Pastor Giwa. ▪️
From a fellow Christian, with due respect, and much love, Sylvester Udemezue (udems)