Namibia wasn’t alone as Southern Africa’s biggest economy also followed suit with President Cyril Ramaphosa also announcing a national day of prayer on Sunday, May 31, in which all religious leaders and members of faith-based organisations were invited to pray for the country which had been hardest hit in Africa by the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. It is imperative to note that just like the former; South Africa is also a self-proclaimed secular state according to its constitution. It just so happened that South Africa was bracing for the worst and the bastard child whom the constitution unequivocally refuses to legitimise and give a voice was the first to receive a post factum legitimisation in times of crisis.
What about the world’s greatest superpower with its infamous “Separation of State and Power?” On 13 March I found out there was such a thing as a House Chaplain when I watched a C-Span broadcast of Rev. Patrick Conroy leading the House in prayer primarily in response to the corona virus. Post factum legitimisation of the bastard child again? It seems as if the state had a love-hate relationship with the church. Not that the church hasn’t had its fair share of global dominance in years past. I always choose to live by the notion that you never judge a doctrine based on its abuse.
Everyone says children are sweet and cute, yet you would be considered a sadist if you were to judge a child based on their weak moments. The slimy vomit, unashamed excrement and yes, they intentionally wet their pants but for the better part they are the source of inexplicable joy. In our children we see a hope for a better tomorrow, and we are willing to fight tooth and nail for that whimper snapper. We endure sleepless nights through tantrums but giving up on a child isn’t an option.
Unlike any child, the church is less than two millennia old and has made its fair share of mistakes. An orphaned child who had to watch the brutal and gruesome murders of her family, the church through faith, zeal and tenacity defied these odds to become a powerful domineering force to reckon with. However, the church erred along the way. In the modern world, if a church were an individual, they would be an inspiration to many, a yard stick of endurance. I dare say if the church was a child in the United States then they would be classified as the typical success story of the American Dream. Enduring beatings, hardships and historically verified persecution; the church also erred in its conduct. In society very rarely do we judge individuals based on their weaknesses but their strengths. We remember Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and all great men for their great accomplishments even though statistically speaking they failed more times than they succeeded. However, their successes outweigh the sum of their failures. At the onset of the COVID19 Virus, the church was a haven and believers and nonbelievers alike found common ground through prayer. Some prayed out of fear, some out of faith, some did not have a clue, however people were united through faith against a common enemy.
Remember how in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, in the United States when an old school evangelist, Billy Graham was called upon just three days after the attack to bring hope to a nation and a world gripped by fear? Addressing millions of Americans and hundreds of millions the world over at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Graham an embodiment of the values of the church and its teaching, quoted the Bible, Psalm 46:1 ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Hope restored a form of closure to believers and non-believers alike, the church was a unifying force on this fateful day.
In times of crisis when all hope is lost, the law seems prima facie and with death staring in our face in the brink of extinction, humanity seems to always call upon the church.