“Why I will not retire to the village”

With Rev. Canon Chinemerem Uche

Dear Pastor, I heard you advising your parishioners to think about home because that is where we will eventually retire to after living in the urban. You spoke so passionately about this as if those of us who have chosen to live all our lives in the city are fools and unpatriotic. I wanted to raise my hand to object while you were preaching but I was quick to remind myself that the pulpit should not be challenged. It is unfortunate that when some of you clergy mount the pulpit to preach, you preach as if we do not have the power of reasoning and doing logical thinking. Let me explain what I mean, I was in a funeral service recently where the priest was preaching. The priest was trying with much strength to convince us of the reality of eternal life and the pain those who find themselves in Hell go through. While he was preaching, I observed that there was a man sitting directly opposite him who listened, watched the preacher and nodded his head with keen interest. He was listening as if he was in total agreement and excited by the preacher.

The preacher then went on to say, “There was one particular man who went to Hell, he lived a very wicked life on earth. When he got to Hell, the Devil singled him out for special punishment every day. Every morning the Devil brought him out and flogged him with two hundred and twenty four lashes. His flogging was so intense that he had to send a message to his brothers who were yet on earth. In the message he warned his brothers to live a righteous life so that they would not have the opportunity to come to hell and suffer what he was suffering” When the service was over I walked up to the man who listened with rapt attention and said to him, “That was a wonderful sermon my dear, I can see from the look on your face that you enjoyed it.” The man immediately waved his hand with disdain and said, “Don’t mind that preacher, where did he get the information that a man died and was being flogged with two hundred and twenty four lashes? Where is it in the Bible and how do you expect me to believe such cooked up stories? I know he was trying to push down a vital point but you don’t use cooked up irrelevant unrealistic stories to drive the truth home. I was just waiting for him to finish his story and come down from the pulpit.” I was stunned!

The point I am trying to make here my beloved Pastor is that you should not take our silence and seemingly faces of approval while you preach to mean that we are agreeing with all you are saying whenever you climb the pulpit. Back to the issues of retiring to the village let me give you my candid reasons why I will never retire to the village.

For your information I was not born in the village. I did not go to school in the village and I have no friends in the village. I wonder why some of my colleagues labour to build a house in the village where they would not spend up to five percent of their entire lives and still pay house rent in the urban where they would be spending a greater part of their lives. I have attended funerals where the diseased was privileged to be in residence for more than an hour in his village house as a corpse –for the first time in his entire life time! Now tell me, what is the economic sense?

One day, I went to the village as usual to check on my elder brother and other relations who have chosen to reside there. While I was leaving, my uncle flagged me down and pleaded that I come in for a very important discussion. I went into his sitting room and sat down eagerly to hear from him. Guess what? As a business man I thought my uncle was going to give me some tips to help me in my business. I was rather disappointed when he began to speak…” (to be continued).