Two weeks ago I was down with a nasty bout of flu. Falling ill can be a very humbling experience. It made me realise just how inconsequential my life is to the rest of the world.
While I was wallowing in pain and vomit, my pals were out drinking themselves silly as they are prone to doing on Friday evenings.
I am always ashamed when I look back at the kind of promises I make to God whenever I am ill. When I got flu I told God ‘Lord if you see me through this, I promise to resume going to Church every Sunday and this time no excuses.’
But the moment I felt better, I was quick to renege on the promise.
I went to Church the previous Sunday, but last Sunday, I stayed home. In my defence I must say I made this promise at a time when I was of diminished capacity (i.e very ill and could not think clearly) and should therefore not be held to my word.
I don’t think playing legalese cuts any ice with God. But after 5 years of law school, I can not help viewing everything with a lawyer’s lenses much to the chagrin of my non lawyer pals and family who have had it up to their teeth with my annoying habit of turning simple conversations into lengthy and pointless arguments.
Speaking of church, we the Christians who constitute the Anglophone congregation of Saint Micheal Cathedral are a no ordinary church going lot.
For starters, few of us have the luxury of being able to attend Mass on two consecutive Sundays. Blame it on our busy lives.
Regular Church attendance it must be said is for those who are not gainfully employed and those who have committed big sins like murder and rape.
Since we do not fall under either of the aforesaid categories, Church is optional.
When we do go to church, we prefer to remain quiet for the duration of the Mass. Do not ask me why, that is just our nature, we cannot help it, that is how we have always been.
And when it comes to offering the sign of peace, most of us will give our neighbours a weak handshake, almost like we have just donated a pint of blood and still feeling faint as a result.
Again, do not be surprised, that is just how we are
Being silent means we never join in singing hymns or clapping.
We leave that for the choir. At first our church management was puzzled by our passivity not knowing that this was just part of our nature.
It was concluded that we did not join in singing hymns because we were not familiar with the words. So the church management decided to buy hymn books for us.
The idea was for us to use the books and leave them on the pews after mass. But we never joined in the singing even with the hymn books. Instead some of us took the hymn books to our homes where we added them to our growing home libraries. Genius!
Management also came up with another idea to involve us more. It distributed some forms on which we were asked to register our names and telephone numbers. We were told we were being registered so that we could be served better.
The idea was to use those lists to assign different roles to the members in preparing for the mass. Every Sunday during announcements, names are read from these lists of those to prepare mass the next Sunday, i.e. readings, petitions and offertory.
This system has failed for two reasons. Firstly, some paranoid members like myself who always impute ill motives on anyone who wants to know their names, never bothered to register themselves.
Secondly, many of those who registered never bother to appear on the Sunday they are slated to participate in.
In fact once they hear during the announcements that they are meant to participate the next Sunday, they stop picking all phone calls from any strange numbers, believing that it could be someone from the Church reminding them about their duty.
We practice a unique version of Christianity in which it is consider smart to get the most out of the church while giving back as little as we can get away with, that is just who we are, so do not blame us.