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I attended a marriage ceremony two years ago. I made it in time for the church solemnization.
As usual, only few people were in attendance for the church phase of the wedding . So far as you are not the couple to be joined that day, or the father of the bride who will walk her down the aisle, your absence may not even be noticed.
Depending on how gaga the bridal dress is, the bride can even make it to a altar without her Chief walking behind her
One thing was notable ; the women wing was full, relatively to the brim. I would almost say all the women were in attendance. They were adorned in the Women uniform(an attire they are mandated to own) and head gears to match.
It’s important I note at this point that it was a rural church. Most of their parishioners were old and frail people who reside in the village.
My mind pondered on what could be thanked for the apparently 100% attendance of the (old) women, then a flashback hit me
I had heard somewhere that old women in a particular village were abandoning idol worship and turning to Christianity. This will almost warm your heart as a Christian till you hear the second part. The second part being that they convert, at old ages when the inevitability of death becomes glaring so….. wait for it…. so they can be buried by the church. So they can get a Christian burial, a decent burial.
Sometime later, I heard the women were mandated to partake in church events, as defaulting on that comes with a consequence ; the church will not undertake their funeral.
I felt very bad when I learned this. So their religious dedication is motivated by the wish for a decent farewell at their death.
The church is unarguably a pillar of support in our society. Support here includes ; socially, economically, emotionally, etc. But to hookworm people with this support and threaten them with its withdrawal is very disheartening.
Moreso, over their deadbody
So here we are, with women who must answer whenever or wherever they are called. No matter how reluctant or unconnected they are about/to the event, but they must make it because they wouldn’t want to default on the church so they church will not retaliate by not turning up for their funeral when they die.
It’s a wedding, not so bad, right. It can be a bush clearing and harvesting farm work tomorrow. It can be a political rally next week. All you need do is agree with their leader and their leader will sway their presence any how she likes.
The irony of it all is that we keep acting as if the dead have consciousness. They don’t. The pride that may come with a flamboyant funeral or shame with an uneventful one is only felt by the living, never the dead.
Why then are these women striving so hard in order to get a decent last respect.
It’s a shame the church leverages on this. It really is. Worse still, they leverage on many other emotions and fears to exert control over members.
What makes a nonsense of all this is wealth. You see, people with money disregard all these. You don’t want to officiate or play a role in their aged parents funeral for one reason or the other, fine. Another Clergy will be imported to play the Clergy role for the day. When he or she is leaving, a token of appreciation will be given and all Glory will go to God.
Worse still, affluent families flout many rules, yet the church stays willing to serve its need whenever it arises. Which should be the ideal given that Christian gestures should be unconditional.
Our society is more warped than we realize. It’s not unheard of that children face-off with their parents. And in time of their death, they act passive or even refuse to show up entirely. Secondly, given the rising cost of funerals these days, worse still, worsening economic conditions, some families become handicapped to give their loved one a decent funeral.
The church usually, makes minimum burial arrangements for its members. Sometimes, this minimum arrangement is the maximum some people can get.
This is what these women strive for. So, for whatever reason; family acrimony or economic hardship, their families are unable to give them decent funerals, that of the church will suffice.
This motivation may hookworm geriatrics to steadfast commitment to church activities,people across other ages are hookwormed by other things. You are unmarried and you flout church activities, God help you when you are about to wed. You are a young woman and you do same, chill till you have a child and need to do church dedication. Your child is getting married nko, you will be reminded of the dues you didn’t or haven’t paid since three years ago.
All these make a caricature of Christianity and passionate worship. Believers are to hunger and taste for the fellowship of brethren, not to be coerced into in for the fear of its exclusion.
And our God in Heaven, who searcheth all hearts, looks down upon us and sees that we are only frantic about His worship in a bid not to err and incur the wrath of the church. A wrath that is easily and best displayed by the church’s inaction and unresponsiveness in times they are needed.Tags: Burial, Ezinne Arua, Funeral