The Coronavirus scourge in Nigeria had shown how church leaders, agents and oracles of divinity have abandoned God and closed down churches for fear of death. The rate at which religious leaders in Nigeria tremble before Coronavirus had only opened up the nakedness of all the empty masses, empty communion, empty deliverance and empty confessions which these men used to hoodwink their followers.
This is the time when the God they profess to their followers will be called upon to intervene, and the churches have abandoned God, closed churches, tuned to CNN, Fox News, China News to know whether they will survive or not.
Churches have suspended the hallowed sacraments, the holy mass, the stations of the cross, and the tridum mass of holy week, the anointing services, the communion services, the deliverance services, the prophetic services and praise services which brings down the power of God.
It is not God that abandoned the people; it is church leaders that abandoned God because they have lost faith in what they professed. The lack of faith was started by the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr Alfred Adewale Martins on March 1st, three weeks before Lagos State Government gave directives limiting churches to 50 persons.
Concerning the Archbishop, I stated in my last write-up titled ‘Coronavirus Isolation Centres and Churches As Death Traps: Reviewing Enugu State and Lagos Catholic Archdiocese’.
“His earlier order two weeks ago for Catholic faithful to receive communion by hand until the corona virus scare was over was flouted by both priests and parishioners in Lagos , who believe that the mystery of 'Transubstantiation' whereby Jesus was present in the Holy Communion was enough to stop Coronavirus. Archbishop Martins had also stopped Stations of the Cross and handshake of peace in the churches across Lagos and parishioners are complaining.”
Yesterday, Archbishop Martins yet issued a third decree which suspended entirely all masses till the next one month. Archbishop’s statement read thus, “With deep regrets, we are constrained to direct that Mass with the faithful in attendance is to be suspended for the next four weeks. Mass is not suspended as priests will continue to offer Mass for the people and the whole world, what has been suspended is Mass with the faithful in attendance.”
The General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Adeboye suspended services in RCCG and limited them to fifty. His online broadcast on Sunday was from empty auditorium. Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry led by Dr Odukoya suspended all deliverance services and suspended services in their stations across the nation, limiting numbers to fifty.
Deeper Life Bible Church of Pastor WF Kumuyi had also limited attendance in the Gbagada Church to fifty. Daystar Christian Centre of Rev Smart Adeyemi was not left out. These men of God had abandoned God and are hoping for Buhari to broadcast solution to them. Using Lagos State Government directives as excuse to close down churches is a hypocritical admission of fear and abandonment of divine mandate.
The Bible says in Isaiah 60: 1-2: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2For behold, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you, and His glory will appear over you.” Now that the world is in darkness due to Coronavirus pandemic, where is the church, where are our religious leaders. They are more afraid than their parishioners and congregations.
The Anglican Archbishop, Province on the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Chibuzor Ibezim has suspended the use of common cups for Holy Communion in churches under his jurisdiction. He also suspended hand shaking, hugging and all other forms of contact salutation in the church for now. He appealed to the congregation not to shake hands during the sign of the peace.
However, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev Dr Anthony Obinna, had decided to put the faith of his diocese in God’s hand. Yesterday he clarified the position of the diocese thus; “The position in Owerri Archdiocese remains what it was during the Ebola saga, namely; Keep yourself and your environment clean at home, in the office or work place and in and around the church; wash your hands regularly and as the need arise. You may use a sanitizer; carry on clean handkerchiefs for needed cleaning of nose and mouth.
“For Holy Mass and for the reception of Holy Communion, the priests will wash their hands and communicants should brush their teeth and mouth.
“Holy Communion will continue to be given only on the tongue; the hand-shake of peace will continue to be given to those immediately near you.”
Bishop Oyedepo of Living Faith Church defied the fear of Coronavirus and spoke faith to his congregation yesterday. He held his service as usual with thousands in attendance.
The case of RCCG was most surprising. Pastor Adeboye held annual RCCG convention at the peak of Ebola crisis in August 2014, and on the Friday of the event, estimated two million worshippers were at Redeemed Camp old auditorium. Such was the crowd for the Holy Ghost Service that people prayed that it would not rain because there was no seat inside the auditorium with worshippers littering every space outside. Yet there was no incidence of spread of Ebola after the one week programme. Today, our Daddy GO is afraid of Coronavirus.
I want to tell these men whose faith had left them, that the Nigerian government of Buhari cannot contain Coronavirus if it spreads. Where is the electricity for social exclusion? Where is the housing for social exclusion? Where is the serene environment for social exclusion? Where are the personnel, some isolation centres are death traps. A woman died in Enugu because the isolation centre resembles Sambisa Forest.
I want to warn people, only God can save Nigeria from Coronavirus. The infrastructure deficit in Nigeria is breeding ground for spread of Coronavirus. The church leaders who should call upon God are themselves abdicating at this point. Calling upon God from position of fear is handing victory to the devil before the battle starts.
I support the dexterity of faith from Archbishop Anthony Obinna of Catholic Diocese Owerri and Bishop Oyedepo of Winners Chapel. I want the faithless Archbishop Martins of Lagos to know that I believe that the ‘Mystery of Transubstantiation’ whereby the host and wine is converted to the ‘Body and Blood of Jesus Christ’ in a spiritual state and as such it should be an exemption against the pandemic.
I want Archbishop Adewale Martins to know that I believe that the grace released during the Holy Week, from Palm Sunday, Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday, Adoration Service to the Candle Light Service are enough to fortify the spirit, soul and body and asking them to stay away from the place of grace, is abandoning God, and his faithful to be ravaged by Coronavirus. I want the Archbishop to know that I believe that God had deposited enough graces in the sacraments to see the faithful through in times of distress.
I want Pastor Adeboye whose faith is shaking now, to know that I believe that the traditional Communion Service of the Saturday of RCCG Convention and Saturday of RCCG Holy Ghost Congress, if convoked for special purpose, has enough power inherent to exempt those who receive it in faith. I want Dr Odukoya who is acting confused, to know that I believe that a ‘Power Must Change Hand’ programme, solely convoked for purpose of stopping Corona Virus, has enough deliverance virtues to exempt the faithful.
I want Pastor Kumuyi to know that the Deeper Life Easter Retreat has enough word of faith inherent in it to act as immunity against any pandemic. I believe that the ‘Blood of Sprinkling and Communion Service’ coming from the last man standing, Bishop Oyedepo’s Canaanland had enough healing virtues to curtail a pandemic.
Our religious leaders have abandoned God because of Coronavirus and suspended masses, deliverance, anointing and prophetic services but the good news is that God had not abandoned the hapless, impoverished people of Nigeria, therefore, at this trying time, let the abandoned worshipers follow simple hygiene and as Romans 1:17 and Habakuk 2:4 Hebrew 10:38 said ‘let the just live by faith’.
Obinna Akukwe wrote via [email protected], facebook.com/obinnaakukwe, @obinnaakukwe