…Straight Talk with Lawrence Musunte
The question most Zambians are asking is; “why are our clergy dying every day?”.
And some spiritualize the response by saying the Pastors and the church is under attack by the devil. This is over-simplifying of a very deep and complex virus at hand.
When I tested positive to covid19 on the 5th of January, 2021 I announced it. And from the 5th – 31st January, no outsider entered our house except a qualified nurse.
As a Pastor myself, I have my Pastor. My Pastor didn’t have to jump on the plane to come to Cape Town to lay hands on me.
That doesn’t make my spiritual parents any less Pastoral. On the contrary without entering our house and laying hands on me, they have been a strong support structure.
Just because I am going ‘down’ with covid19 doesn’t mean I should go down with my pastor, and every member of the Church.
THE CLERGY IN HARMS’ WAY
At the beginning of the pandemic Italy lost a lot of Priests to coronavirus.
My background is Catholic. And I understand that Priests are often called to hospitals especially when it’s clear the patient is about to die to perform those final rites.
These final rights includes the administration of the Eucharist. The Priest is also expected to receive the body at his local parish for a funeral service.
Some clergy know the danger of being in close proximity with those who have covid19, yet they are scared to refuse to lay hands on the sick because the Christian community will label them faithless , or that they are not pastoral.
“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:17)
The ethical or moral issues are not all stipulated in a piece of legislature. But I know that when I have a seat on the train, and an elderly person is standing next to me, my conscience will not allow my butts to be comfy and comfortable when an elderly man is uncomfortable.
I stand Up, so the elderly person can seat down.
When the label says poison, and I go ahead and drink, it is not faith but suicide.
The Clergy putting their lives in covid19 harms’ way to please the congregants is not an act of selfless service, but suicide!
Congregants should Protect their Pastors by encouraging Pastor not to come to the house or hospital, but to pray on the phone, WhatsApp, video calls, Zoom etc.
God knew and allowed this level of technology to be in place before the Pandemic.
Physical Pastoral care is important and comforting under normal circumstances. But we are in unusual circumstances.
Secondly; local Churches are at different levels economically. While some local churches have deeper reserves to fall back to pay for the building and stipends to Pastors, some are on the verge of shutting down!
However Pastors must know we are not medical practitioners, we are Gospel Preachers. Step aside, and allow medical practitioners to do their work, and we can continue our Pastoral care remotely.
Why are our Clergy dying like chitemene system every single day? What is it they are doing that exposes them to danger?