by Tunde Kara
I was raised the Christian way; taught to believe in the Almighty God. I believe the bible stories my mum read (still reads) to me; stories of Jesus laying hands on all types of sick people and healing them… but then came Ebola.
At 2am this morning, in the usual supine position, where all the “great” thoughts come to me, I’m suddenly thinking, “if Jesus were here now, will he refuse to lay hands on the sick and dying of the Ebola virus disease? Would he gather them together, touch them and tell them, they have been made whole?” Food for thought.
Ok so, maybe I misled you just a tad bit with the tone of my first paragraph. You see, I really was raised in the no-holds-barred-Christian-faith-way, but just like many other information inundated millennial Christians, I have grown to become a Realist-Christian. The kind who has faith, but still respects the facts. The “faith without works is dead” kind. The barely religious kind.
So it was only natural, I thought it extremely savvy, when the Lagos state government paid a courtesy visit to TB Joshua, with an ill disguised plea, that he discourage strongly, the influx of EVD infected patients to his church. He obliged. I was relieved. Then it hit me.
Brace yourself, ‘cos now I’m going to say (better still ask) what other realism practicing Christians have been too afraid to, “doesn’t the very notion that men of God ask the sick to stay away from the church, fly in the very face of the faith we espouse?” Pause. Stop, really think about this.
James 5: 14 & 15 offers an interesting angle to view this from, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
If you’re like me, you’ve probably quickly spotted with relief the answer to this conundrum inside those verses – the Elders/Priest/Pastor go to the sick, the sick don’t come to them or the church. Whoop-whoop, hallelujah, hi5-your-neighbor, problem solved, right? Hold your horses.
If you really are like me, then you’d have probably spotted the caveat buried therein – what if the priest now catchesthe disease nko? But you see, thinking like this also flies in the face of the faith we were raised in. Then again, we respect the facts right? And the facts say – priests/pastors get sick and spread disease too.
Fact is, they can innocuously infect a lot more people than the average person, because they tend to meet with more people than the average person does. Case study – the priests of 14th century Europe and the Bubonic plague aka Black Death.
So as people of faith, how do we solve this problem with said faith still intact? Mind you, if you say, “leave this to the medics, it’s too infectious, let them deal”, what right do we then have to apply faith to other ailments? Or is our faith selective, can it only deal with some and not with others? Pause. Stop, really think about this.
I am afraid for my faith.