Not wanting to annoy the vicar (who was patiently trying to explain to us the merits and virtues of obeying the 10 Commandments, more specifically, the rewards one could look forward to after they’d died because, as he put it, our Father had died to go ahead and prepare a place for us there, he pointed skywards) I bit my tongue and stifled the one burning question that somehow evaded all expectation and mingled happily amongst the more pious thoughts in my brain. Those of us who had won the battle against sleep glanced around at our fellow congregants, looking for clues that might lead us to knowing what was going on in their minds, those who had nodded off shifted in their seats, then nodded off again.
Firstly let it be known far and wide that I’m a firm believer in a Higher Power, furthermore I believe that religion provides comfort, a moral compass, and strength in times of grief, specially for the youth and I for one will not mock any ritual or belief that draws people closer to their God, their Allah, or their Buddha via their Imams’, their Priests and their Pastors - but that most wicked of thoughts, heaven forbid! Does creep in at times, I wonder why people always feel obliged to defend, often violently, their God whom they claim is all-knowing (with Super human powers) far beyond the comprehension of us mere mortals – surely all justice must be left to his Mighty hand when he returns to judge the living and the dead, no?
On God Friday we attend ‘Stations of the Cross’, a service that retraces the ordeal Jesus went through from the start right up to his crucifixion, at the end you genuflect and kiss the feet of Jesus, well actually, you kiss the feet of a statue, I cannot ever recall being comfortable with this – so my chapel goes everywhere with me in my heart where, when I’m alone, I talk to a loving and forgiving God, not one filled with vengeance, not one demanding praise and worship, just a gentle, loving God who wants us All to live in peace and as one with one another and nature around us - go ahead, cast the first stone.
After you have cast the first stone take a good hard look at those worshipped by Churchgoers these days - Pastors who fly in private jets and own millions in private banks and in the Stock exchange, not to mention seaside mansions where they rub shoulders with A-list celebs and go on morning bike rides on their Harleys. ‘I tell you today, God will give you All that you want” says one of the most famous American pastors as he whips his followers into a frenzy, “Thank you Jesus” they all reply in unison, are they here to praise Jesus or are they here to worship the Pastor? it becomes hard to tell – his wife had opened up the show ably assisted by back-up musicians and lighting only seen at rock shows.
I was right there at the show when it toured South Africa, right there at the Sandton Convention Centre when that man spoke like the well-trained Motivational Speaker that he is - with so many people gladly willing to part with their hard-earned cash to buy dvd’s, cd’s telling them to simply love Jesus above all else for all their dreams to come true, I have obviously chosen the wrong profession.