• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Oga-Coro: The spiritual and religious dimensions (2)

War Against Coro (WAC): The unforgettable utterances and theatricals of our pastors (2)

Last week, I started an extensive analysis of the spiritual and religious dynamics of the War Against Oga-Coro. This is the concluding part.

As we prayed for ourselves in our various homes and congregations, we also stood in the gap for our nation and for the world (Ezekiel 22:30) to prevail on God to spare all of us.

As these were going on, there were also words of encouragement and hope that kept people going during those distressed and stressful times.

Fr Eustace Siame of the Daily Bread Ministry reminded us that the content and context of Isaiah 40-55, when Israelites were in exile also applied to us because we were in social exile (social distancing) caused by Oga-Coro and that Covid was thus our own Babylon.

Coro has proved that everything around us is temporary as things our lives revolved around, went on sabbatical and we learnt to live without them

We were advised not to be afraid because even if God struck us with a rod and lift his staff against us, His indignation and anger will cease in a little while and that subsequently the burden shall be taken away from our shoulders and the yoke from our necks (Isaiah 10: 24-25; 27).

We were reminded that once we humbled ourselves before the Lord, He would lift us up (James 4:10), keep us safe from secret traps and deadly diseases (Ps. 91:3), and that nothing can be against us if God was for us (Romans 8:31). In The Word for Today (13/3/20) we were encouraged to put on the full armour of God and the shield of faith so as to be able to stand firm against the arrows of the evil one (Eph.

6: 11-16) and to stand up to the Devil so that he will flee (James 4:7). We were continuously reminded not to fear that which can kill the body but cannot harm the soul (Mt.10:28).

We were also assured that we should not fear even if we walked through the valley of the shadow of death, because the Lord was and is with us (Ps. 23) and that those who trust in the Lord are like mount Zion, which cannot be moved and abides forever because the Lord surrounded his people just as mountains surround Jerusalem (Psalm 125: 1-2) and only through him are victory and strength found.

We remembered that the Lord is on our side, strong and mighty (Jeremiah 20:11); our defender, protector, fortress, and shield, who keeps us safe (Ps. 18:1-2) as a shepherd keeps his flock (Ps. 31:10) and that even though weeping endureth for a night joy commeth in the morning:

(Ps. 30.5) because He will turn our mourning into joy, comfort us and give us gladness for our sorrows (Ps. 31:13). We were assured that He will be our God and wipe away every tear from our eyes and that there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

We remembered that nothing, whether on the sky above or earth below can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35) and that the steadfastness of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end because they are new every morning (Lamentations 3: 22-23).

We recalled his admonition that we should be determined, confident, neither be afraid nor discouraged because He will never fail or abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua. 1:9), and will rather be with us till the end of time as reaffirmed by Jesus (Mt. 28:20).

We took solace in the fact that he shows mercy to those who walk before him with all their hearts (2 Chron. 6:14; Isaiah 45:24) and we continually encouraged ourselves with Psalm 46 (1-3) that God is our refuge and strength, a permanent help in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the ocean depths, even if the seas roar and rage and the hills are shaken by violence.

We reminded God that He is our rock, constant refuge, stronghold and pleaded with him to incline his ears onto our plea, rescue us and not let us to be shamed (Ps. 71:1-5). In all these, we were encouraged by the assurance that the Good Lord was and is a promise-keeper (Ezekiel 12:28; Jeremiah 1:12; Joshua 23:14).

But as people all over the world were praying in expectation of God’s mercy and thanking him for positive developments, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York at that time declared that “The number is down because we brought the number down.”…

God did not do that, fate did not do that, destiny did not do that… Our behaviour has stopped the spread of the virus. God did not stop the spread of the virus. And what we do, how we act, will dictate how that virus spreads.”

My townsman, Rev. Dr. Kingsley Obi Jon-Ubabuco, rector, St. Philip-The-Apostle Anglican Church Arlington Texas took a strong exception to this, reminding him that ‘God gives the knowledge, skill, education, training, medications, machines, facilities, resources, the life and the well-being and the wisdom to make decisions that direct and make all things to come together for the good of the world He created and sustains’ and that the physicians and pharmacists, care givers, and all professions in the healthcare industry (and every profession and trade, for that matter), are working for/with God (Sirach 38:1-15).

He ended by reminding Cuomo that while he might be the governor of New York, he was not the governor of the world!

However, in Nigeria, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and boss of PTF-Coro, Boss Mustapha felt otherwise as he declared that the case would have been worse and Nigeria would have crumbled if not for prayers.

He urged Christians and Muslims to pray more because given the directions, projections and modelling, we ought to have crumbled by now. But I can assure you that prayer has played an active role and active part in sustaining us as a people and as a country.”

At another occasion, he led government officials to attend an interdenominational service against Covid and that was after three days of fasting.

Read also: Oga-Coro: The spiritual & religious dimensions

Beyond praying for mercy, banking on God’s assurances and interceding for others, people also lived the Bible at the height of that pandemic.

In Berlin, a Martha Lutheran Church availed a nearby mosque of its church building, so as to comply with the social distancing regime.

The Dar Assalam mosque in Berlin’s Neukoelln district had up to 500 worshippers but could only accommodate socially-distanced 50 at a time.

The church, which had more space then allowed the mosque and in effect, hosting its Friday prayers in an ‘amazing show of solidarity’ thus living like the salt of the earth and light of the world (Mt. 5:13-16).

Coro has proved that everything around us is temporary as things our lives revolved around, went on sabbatical and we learnt to live without them.

By early 2021, people were afraid that Coro had become a ‘permanent member’ of our homes and communities as it nearly became omnipresent. However, as I write( April,2022), Coro appears to have repented and governments all over the world, including Nigeria, are relaxing the stringent protocols.

Our mouths are full of praises because He has given us victory and saved us from our foes (Ps. 44:7+).

In our troubles, we called on the Lord for help, he heard our voices and listened to our cry for help; he reached down from above, took hold of us and and pulled us out of the deep waters, rescued us from our powerful enemies, helped us out of danger (Ps. 18:6,16-19).

We are singing to the Lord and praising him because he has rescued us (Jer. 20:13). Hymn 50 (Ps. 116) is now trending: how can we repay the Lord for his goodness to us, for loosening our bonds?

We will raise the cup of salvation, make a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on His name in praise! We can now join R Kelly to sing: ‘The storm is OVER now.’ Well, it is not totally over because members of the US executive (Merrick Garland, Attorney General & Gina Raimindo, Commerce Secretary) and legislature were coronised when they attended the exclusive Gridiron Club dinner on 2/4/22.

Many people believed that God had done it and there are still some who believe that human efforts are responsible for the denouement.

However, it is indubitable that God, through his Word played an invaluable role in the situation. People were given hope, saved from despair and were able to maintain their mental stability through out those distressed and fearful days.

Our competence (with which we managed and subdued Oga-Coro) also comes from God (2Cor. 5:3). We shall focus on the roles and antics of our pastors in the covidious era, one of these days.

I wish you a happy Easter and pray that we learn from the life, humiliation and cruxification of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I also pray that the light of the risen Lord will shine on Nigeria and on all men of Good will.