Actively Lonely in Church: The Lockdown
Well I have just been reminded that it is a full cycle of a year since I wrote the first article about the current practices going on in our churches. Now, I am not particular about any denomination, but if the things I write here depicts something that is happening close to you, just know that you are not alone in this regard.
The first article, I asked the church to normalise welfarism, as it was in the early church, but today I am going to look at another thing entirely.
May I digress a little, I will like to use the fictional story of Friday to drive home my point. Friday was the church timekeeper, every morning he woke the village with the church bell, so folks can trip in to morning prayer. Oh yes! You get the idea, those mammoth tower bells with a pulley. After a while, Friday got wounded in a farm accident, this wound became infected and would not heal. It got so bad that Friday could not go to church anymore, but he pulled himself everyday to ring the bell in the morning and go back home.
You know at first the church prayed and after a while they forgot about him. But Friday still rang the bell and then he will go home. Harvest came and Friday had no help to harvest his farm, so he did the most he could. One morning the village woke up very late as they did not hear the church bell. The priest and the church visited Friday’s home only to find him dead on the floor due to a tetanus induced seizure. Friday was stiff. Friday was unmarried, and had no kids.
The people in the local community began praising how good Friday was, how genuine, how devoted he was. Praises kept coming in from right and left. The church also eulogised Friday.
I know many people will say I am still talking welfare, but not. The trouble is that Friday never heard any of these praises while he was alive, no one praised him, no one noticed him. Friday was just a bell-boy.
We need to normalise giving praises to people who have done noble while they are still alive. They need to hear those praises. You see there is a gift of the Holy spirit called the gift of encouragement. Even God realised how important encouraging each other is that he made it a core ministering gift.
Well, people need to hear what they are doing well. Even Jesus did his personal performance review when he asked his disciples “who do people say I am?” Once in a while tell people they look good, tell them they are beautiful, tell them thank you when they usher you to a seat, tell them they sang beautifully, tell them their shoe looks new. We all need to say sweet things to each other.
And if someone does tell you a sweet thing, tell the person back. Even when the priest says “the Lord be with you,” please sincerely tell them “and also with you.” Service to God and people is challenging as it is, lest anyone lose heart due discouragement.
Sadly, people are quick to apportion blames, accuse for wrong doing, and all such things, but they will never tell you, “ooin, you are doing well.” even when obviously you are doing more than well.
This should not be a church-only thing. But I know we can start from there. Lest we lose our talents like Friday. Some congregations have lost so many Fridays, might not be to death, but to other congregations, the secular sphere, even at home. It is only then that people would eulogise what a great miss they are.
One last thing, there is nothing wrong with tipping people in church. If you would tip waiters and other service people, there is nothing wrong with tipping church folk who do well. I have tipped people more times than I can count, and the look on their faces is the only priceless reward I get. Don’t wait till they beg. Tip generously.