I have been watching Christians troop to church for end of year all night services since my teenage years. I know I risk sounding as though attending church on 31st night is a bad thing; far from that. In fact, there is nothing wrong with going to church to thank God for his mercies and protection throughout the year. It is however with the attitude that the world will come to an end on the night of 31st December, that I have issues with.
On many 31st December nights, there is this feeling of doom for persons who absent themselves from these church programmes; which has got me asking “why the fret about 31st nights with its church services, not to talk of what happen during the services”.
Let’s not forget that depending on your geographic location, people elsewhere are likely to experience the New Year before you do. Should you then be feel overly excited when the clock chimes it is 12:00 am at a 31st December church service?
Some 31st night church services have made news headlines lately, mainly due to the prophecies of doom that highlight all the bad that supposedly await us in the New Year. It is depressing if being a Christian will be so dreadful because one has to constantly be thinking about all the hard times that is coming and very little or nothing to hope for.
I have long thought we are overly religious because of fear of the unknown, or perhaps of fear of death. Bertrand Russel had long before my father was born put my thought in clearer perspective during his 1927 lecture on “Why I am not a Christian” at the South London branch of the National Secular Society. He said “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown….fear is the basis of the whole thing –fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death”.
There may be a new twist to this, some persons may have noticed the fear some humans ascribe to religion and are therefore using it to their advantage. I watched a video peacefmonline.com posted on the 3rd of January 2019 of some men seated on the floor of what looks like a church, speaking in tongues and slapping the ground with cutlasses. The description the website gives to the video is “Church members fight all their 2019 spiritual battles with cutlass their pastor asked them to bring to church”.
I wonder if those who brought us Christianity practise Christianity like we do. Christianity is foreign to us. I’m however afraid we now act as if we know Christ and Christianity more than the Vicar of Christ.I pray for a day when new year prophesises will be ‘progressively pragmatic’ such that they will give clues on which months we will have a lot of rainfall so we plan when to plant more maize, cassava ,yam; more food crops and money for the church harvests.