By Canon Omondi
What shall purify the church?
If Jesus had came to the church today, I doubt he would he change the script. But he would have to deal with the effects of COVID-19.
He would ride his donkey on streets without the usual processions of Palm Sunday since this government has banned all forms of religious gatherings, triumphal entry included. So, instead of people on the streets, they will line up on Facebook, YouTube, radio and TV to catch the glimpse of the event if they do not stop him. It will be an anti-climax for a Feast of Passover’s importance.
But this would just be the day before. The day after is the temple cleansing day. What would Jesus do?
On arrival he would find the Gentile place empty. Yes, the entire place would not have the usual crowds that make the temple a place to be. Though, one would spot a few people. The caretakers, the priest on duty or the bishop or Cardinal all who would maintain social distancing, every other soul would worship from home.
Jesus will miss. The merchants in the holy place would be missing. No tables to turn, no caged doves. This will not be because of COVID 19. Nowadays, the ones of today are sharp. Aware of Jesus’ habit of whipping merchants in holy places, they mutated. They sell tangible and intangible goods, which are miracles, miracle water and anointing oils from Nigeria or Israel. Other only preach health and wealth, it’s very prosperous. While others promise heaven express to tithers. And not to occupy space, they encourage you “send to this mpesa, for your miracle is on the way”.
Today the space is empty.
Jesus would not find the investors in heaven. It has been a while since we had an organised fundraising. The fundraisers also choke worship space in the church. The religious groups like this kind, they bring it already counted in millions. But they are territorial, and rush to contract the church. Even though they speak heavenly tongue, they would not tolerate turf intrusion. Remember the “kieleweke” and “tanga tanga” tussle.
For this, a real spanking was necessary. The church would not listen to the esteemed Anglican’s Provincial Board of Christian Community Services, who in 1983, issued protocols to protect the likely erosion of the Church’s prophetic role in the society: “Church leaders and especially bishops are strongly urged to correct this situation. Inviting public figures as guests of honour at Church harambees or giving them prominence in a church function merely because of the money they bring is not in accordance with our Christian principles. It tends to silence the prophetic voice of our church leaders (A report of the CPK Consultation on Theology and Philosophy of Development, 1989: Recommendation B: 2, p. 5, ¶4)”.
Today the whip will not be need.
Since buildings are also stopped, the dealers in brick and mortar are silent.
There will be no need to burn energy there.
But Jesus should have cracked a whip on the keepers of the storehouses. Despite 30 years of stocking, the storehouses in the temple are empty. Where would the quartet of the widows, orphans, strangers and Levites go for help?
Unfortunately, Jesus would not even meet the outcasts, the poor and the lame and sick to personally show them compassion and mercy in the Temple. They would not walk fast enough to beat the curfew. The Karauvirus (police brutality) would have killed them before COVID-19. There is no need to worry, for the Phoenician woman, the Centurion and the ten lepers taught us that Jesus can heal remotely, and at his own cost.
If Jesus got on You Tube, he would direct us to acts of mercy and compassion in this trying time of corona virus. Telling us that what we did to the least of these, “you did it to me”: for I was hungry you fed me, I was naked you clothed me, I was thirsty you gave me a drink, I was a stranger you gave me shelter I was sick and you visited me, therefore, Enter the God’s Kingdom through these acts.
I must admit that restrictions to congregate due to COVID-19, saved the church from proper whipping and cleansing. I doubt that the religious group today would have spared Jesus.