A shouting match is heard close by. The same emanates from inside the Prayer House, of all places! The environs stand at still, to listen in and understand what the hell is transpiring. It emerges quickly that the tiff is between the Clergy and the laity. The conflict springs from the dwindling church collections. “I clearly don’t know what is going on with you people,” the angry Clergy continuously shouts out as he opens the altercation.Before the laity can figure out what is going on and, accordingly, intelligently respond, the clergy resumes the quarrel.
He roars, “I mean, you no longer making significant contributions to the Lord!” Jeez! Is it contribution to the Lord, or contribution to the grumbling Cleric’s own stomach! Which is which, in-matter-of-honestly! The agitated Clergy pauses the quarrel. Meantime, the man-of-the-Lord clears his voice. He does this in order to let each and every concerned soul hear him out loud and clear.
He then thunders on, “The Almighty commands you the laity to sow the seed.” He pauses ,again, so that his sermon can sink in first and fast. He then returns, anguish clearly printed allover him, “But look, my dear brethren and sisters, you have been making shameful contributions to the Lord lately. What the heck is going on with you, honestly!” Having ranted about how majority among the laity were stooping as low as shamelessly sowing as paltry as UGX500, the quarrelsome man rests his tiff.
You can hear a pin drop. Seeing the quiteness now gripping the Prayer House. Each and every laity is scared to the marrow. As he or she tries to reflect about the manner of rage the man-of-the-Lord has just put out on show for all and sundry to hear and witness. As each and everyone else is thus lost in thoughts, an old man rises up. He is on his rickety feet to ask the Clergy to permit him mention something in rejoinder to what he has just stated.
“Sure, go ahead old man,” the Cleric retorts with a tinge of authority audible in his voice, “Say what you want to say. After all, they say, old age is golden. Who knows, you can be holding the solution all of us here longs for!” Having registered his thankfulness to the Clergy for permitting him to talk and also greeted everyone around, the old man proceeds to speak in a rickety, but obviously firm voice. Kindly hear him out you yourself .
“My own parents donated the land hosting this Prayer House. Not only that, Sir. They even built the same Prayer House where you stand and thankfully preach the word of God. Plus the house overthere where you and your people sleep”. The old man then hastens to appreciate the contribution rendered by the other people in the locality, other than his parents, towards the construction of the Prayer House.
Following which, the old soul then pauses to recover the precious breath and also, to let his message sink in first. Meantime, the mood in the prayer house has changed. It is no longer the tense and doom situation. As it was previously when the clergy himself was addressing the congregation. You can see and feel a sense of joy and hope. The faces and body language of the laity can clearly attest to this.
Elsewhere, though, the Clergy remains an agitated soul. It is as if he would rather wish the old man could go fast and hit the nail on the head. On return, the old man poses a rather cheeky question. ”Tell me, Sir, where were you at the time my parents were building this Prayer House? In any case, had you been born, anyway?
The man-the-of-collar looks up. He looks here and there. He fails to get to the answer, nonetheles. Loo! He has been absolutely floored by the wit of the man-of-the-grey-hair. Every other member of the laity is by now, casting his or her eyes down. Each one is too shy now. To either approve or disapprove of the manner of discourse on part of the speaker.
Carrying himself with a definitive sense of authority, the old man now volunteers to teach to the priest the hard times upon which Ugandans have fallen recently. So much that majority of them, cannot afford two rounds of a meal per day. Before the Clergy could recover his senses, the old man rebounds with a bang. “Are you aware of anything regarding the prevailing poverty Sir?,” he demands the Clergy to tell him.
He doesn’t wait for an answer from the respondent. “I don’t want,” he continues, “to think for even a minute that you live on planet Mars.” Apart from living there on planet Earth, the Mzee argues, he couldn’t figure out any reason capable of blinding the priest to the evidently bad financial times. Finally, the old man lectures the Cleric to wake up from his comfort zone.
He argues him to understand the situation in which the people are living. This stance, instead of threateningly demanding from them, tithe and such things from them. “When my parents were building this church, no one was threatening them to do this or that. They did it with others absolutely voluntarily,” the Mzee reminds the Clergy. He then breaks off with a stern salvation, “Please, Sir, take time to understand situation on the ground.. lest, you are going to end up preaching to an empty church one of these days.”
The Clergy takes the sermon from the golden age with both humility and grace. He says his last prayers and wishes everyone a bountiful life. As they file for home, each and everyone of the laity, is full of praises for the old soul. They can’t stop showering praises on the old man seeing that he has finally told off the extortionate priest. We would want to think that many priests in Uganda are conducting themselves in exactly the same manner as the figurative one above.
Not only has this made God and the gospel seem as if there are identical to any other ordinary business, but also regrettably forced millions of believers to drift away from God. Renowned Lubaga Miracle Center Chief Pastor, Robert Kayanja holds the solution to this notoriously begging syndrome among the Clergy and across the divide, for that matter. To this we are going return when we revert to these pages. Stay well.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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Thanks for your fantastic work