A call to radical discipleship
Truly, Nigerian Christians shall have questions to answer on what role they played in the Nigerian drama of death. Christian leaders have perhaps been too diplomatic in their public statements against the injustices of the day. But this is not a time for niceties. We have nearly reached rock-bottom, and so the time has come for us to call a spade a spade, rather than calling it an agricultural implement. True, the time has come in Nigeria for Christian leaders to name the demon in order to free the demoniac. The nation has had enough of self-proclaimed messiahs who turn out to be looters, opportunists and architects of discord. The nation is in dire need of the prophets of peace. We are at a critical point in history.
We are at the edge of a precipice. Yet Nigeria can be saved if Christians wake up to their calling, and are ready to pay the price for radical discipleship of Jesus Christ in a society dominated by forces of darkness. Nigeria can be saved if Christians, true to their Christian calling, refuse to adjust to injustice or to compromise truth. Nigeria can be saved if Christians take up their prophetic role and act as sentries and “watchmen” for their generation.
Christians should never adopt a passive approach or take a defeatist posture before the forces of darkness that unleash multiple plagues on the society. We have been empowered by Jesus Christ who has commissioned us to go and teach the whole world the truth (Mt. 28:19-20). We possess the authority to cast out demons and trample upon snakes and scorpions (Mk.16:17-18). The Lord has promised to send Christians power from on high, to abide with us forever. He has promised that we shall do what the world considers impossible if we abide in Him. Besides, he says nothing shall ever harm us, especially when we are actively and faithfully engaged in dislodging darkness and spreading the light (Lk.10:19).
It is the special prerogative of Christians to study the phenomenon of falsehood and fraud in our socio-political and economic set-up, to identify the lie whenever and wherever it rears its head, to warn society of its devastating potential, and to champion the cause of combating it. Christians cannot succumb to the feeling that truth does not pay. We must not fall for the illusion that truth has vanished. Rather, we must reproach, deplore, and denounce falsehood. We must be ready to put our life on the line for the sake of the truth. Individual Christians and such Christian Organisations as the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, the Nigerian Clergy Association, the Laity Council, the Catholic Men Organisation (CMO), Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), the Knights, the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON), and yes, the Nigerian Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS), must be ready to “stick their necks out” in defence of truth. The truth must be taught and preached, no matter how bitter it may be; that political deceit, even when adorned in gold, is sin; that dishonesty in business, even when justified by the laws of economics is sin; and that civic lying, even when it is the order of the day, is sin.
Nigerian Christians must start from somewhere, no matter how humble, for charity begins at home. We must take the bull by the horn, in accordance with our divine mission, as salt of the earth and light of the world. Christians must re-assert their authority to teach the world the way of life and the way of peace. We are not helpless before the forces of destruction in Nigeria. With the spiritual resources at our disposal in Christ Jesus, we can fight back the collective decay that consistently threatens the Nigerian nation. Beginning from our homes, our schools, our villages, and then onto our towns, our states and the nation at large, we must champion the cause of justice and fair-play.
We cannot sit idly and complain endlessly about the deplorable state of affairs in our country. We must get into action in whatever way is open to us, and ignite our Christian candle to fight back the forces of darkness and decay, whether as responsible parents or respectful children, devoted teachers or diligent students, God-fearing doctors or dedicated nurses, dutiful administrators or faithful labourers. If a sufficient number of Christians lit their candles in this way, then we can be sure that dying Nigeria shall rise again to greatness, by the power of God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
As Christians we believe that even from the wreckage or rubble of our devastated land, a new united nation can emerge, by the power of God who creates and re-creates. We believe that from the broken bricks and battered bodies that are today littered around the national landscape, a just, peaceful and prosperous nation can emerge, by the power of God who makes all things new. This will come about if a sufficient number of Nigerian Christians today answer the call to radical discipleship of Christ.
Only an authentic discipleship of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace will guarantee peace for Nigeria. Christians must present the true Jesus to the men and women of this country. This is the only solution to the multiple problems that today plague our nation. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bed. Christians must therefore rise and shine out the light of Christ in this dungeon of economic prodigality, political bigotry and military banditry. Yes, we must act quickly and come out clearly at this time to be counted on the side of truth, justice and sanity.
•Being excerpt of presentation by Rev. Dr. George Ehusani at the Annual Conference of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, (Kaduna Province) in Idah, in present-day Kogi State.
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