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PASSING ON THE EBOLA “PEACE OF DEATH”

By: Winstanley.R.Bankole Johnson

a-new-ebola-outbreak-in-africa-could-start-spreading-rapidly-if-it-is-not-containedAlthough Christians are doctrinally made to believe that they are made in the “image and likeness of God” (Gen.1:27), the circumstances in which they take the initiative to verily manifest such convictions are few and far between. That is to say, the rational practices of humanity evidencing the godliness in mankind that should allow common sense to prevail so as to protect and extend our physical lives on planet earth, not only that we shall continue to have life, “but have it more abundantly” (John 10:10) are inherently suppressed either cowardice or greed, thus denying us a profitable relationship with God. That is why Bishop Yambasu and the entire membership of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (which of course include the “multi-religious” Islamic Cleric Sheik Abubakarr Conteh) deserve special commendations for finally coming out of their closet to join the public crusade against the Ebola epidemic.

Wrong!!

It is for the records that for quite some time now, leaders of the main religious faiths have been questionably passive – or rather silent – on the Ebola matter, and our furtive attempts to sensitize and dissuade particularly followers of Anglicanism away from such practices such as “sharing the peace of the Lord”, have been received with much mixed reactions. Whilst some as usual dismissed our earlier suggestions for handshakes restraints in Churches as outlandish and “always thinking we know too much”, others argue out their convictions that merely being in “the presence of the Lord”, or inside a Church (and possibly with the Spirit of God Himself as a witness) can diffuse or even prevent transmission of the Ebola virus through body contacts/handshakes.  Wrong!!

Dead Faith

You see “faith alone without works is dead” (James 2:17). And that is the kind of faith many who believe that just being inside the house of God can bring cure or even stem the possibility of an inadvertent infection have. A dead faith! Observe for example during our funeral services, to which sympathizers invariably have to rush to sometimes arriving late, or just about when it is time to “share the peace”, sweating profusely from God knows what. Anything can happen under the circumstance. So the logical thing is to match such faith with works of caution to give it the complimentary spiritual effect.

“Articles 26”

The basis for their conviction is possibly a misinterpretation of Article 26 of the “Articles of Religion” in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which addresses the “unworthiness of the Ministers, (or anything) which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament” and I quote partly as follows:  “ Although in the visible Church the evil  be ever mingled with the good, and sometime the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by His commission and authority, we may use their Ministry both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them ; which be effectual because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men” – unquote

Passing the Peace

What this specific “Article” is saying is that the evil in personalities administering the Holy Eucharist is subsumed by the power and efficacy of the transubstantiated elements. But this rule is restricted to the mortals celebrating the Holy Eucharist, NOT (repeat NOT) applicable to highly contagious diseases like the Ebola virus. So the premise of those who claim that once in a Church (and possibly under some incantations), contagious diseases cannot be transmitted is absurd. Even if the above quote is paraphrased to suit their conviction to include the dreaded Ebola virus, the practice of sharing of “the Peace of the Lord” in the Anglican doctrinal practice and liturgy always comes well before consecration and transubstantiation of the elements, i.e. the Bread and Wine” – not after. And if it be so then the Ebola disease, like all others will remain as unconsecrated and as viral as they can be. So why not take the initiative and behave as rational beings made in the image and likeness of God and avoid the infection by simple genuflections to the nearest “beloved” as a sign of “passing the peace” – just like the IRC has directed. That could extensively eliminate passing on the peace of death instead of the peace of the Lord?

EBOLA

The Ebola virus is real, and the raw facts about it make compliance with basic personal sanitation and hygiene practices an imperative. It is now assuming the wider dimensions of a plague…… a scourge….. and a full blown war at one and the same time, that can ultimately have devastating consequences on our collective consciences, if not  of combated with the seriousness it deserves. Unlike the rebel war, this enemy is invincible and deadly. Government should therefore continue scaling up all medical resources available at its disposal, including the marshalling as many well-incentivized medical specialist reservists for the purpose. I repeat “well-incentivized”. These are our national heroes and heroines, making tremendous sacrifices for their country, and in the course of which a few have paid the ultimate sacrifice. May God rest their souls!!

So you can imagine my relief when I saw Bishop Yambasu demonstrating on SLBC/TV how to communicate “the Peace” or a “hug” by genuflection of each posture respectively. To pass the peace he said, all one need do is to gracefully clasp both hands and bow gently in front of the person one wishes to share the blessing with, whist to communicate a hug, one should cross both hands breast-wise and bow. And that could be a life saving bonanza you know, unless of course your intention is to pass on “the peace of death”. At the same time, each office and household should now begin to make access to Clorox/chlorine more regular – including for all domestic staff.

But here’s to a final reminder to all Christians that should enforce compliance with the guidelines given by the IRC: Remember, Christ was marked for death by a simple kiss of peace. Avoid being marked for your own death by a simple handshake. Genuflect!

We shall resume the practice after defeating the enemy in the entire sub-region.

Posted by on 11:03 pm. Filed under Breaking News, NEWS, OTHER NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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