This closing chapter of the Spiritual Essays looks at what we say is prayer and the emphasis we place on ceremonial occasions during which time we call on Almighty God to do for us those things that our actions cannot sustain in the law of reaping what we sow. It was first published in the Sunday Vanguard of January 5, 2003 and is published in Vol. 1 of my Democracy Watch, A Monitor’s Diary, pages 497 – 500
A new year crept in a few days ago, and there was no doubt that we looked a little bit inwards and delivered our many needs on the table of the Only One we believe can grant. Many of us packaged our needs in our homes, many in the churches, even some in nightclubs. The ones I believe would also have had some time to whisper their needs towards the Throne of Grace are those at those posts where their breadwinning chores take them every day, every week, every month.
I was in my house to perform my annual chore of hosting people to food and drink and dance. We never have invited anyone. People know that on every December 31, people come to the house before midnight, at midnight or after midnight. By eight in the evening, the house starts filling up. By 11, the first group has started leaving for church. They say, and I believe them, that they must be in church for the New Year to break, so that the prayers they say will ascend without effort.
Some others who also come before midnight sign off after 10 and move to their homes. They say they want to be with their families, join hands at midnight and pray to God for His blessings to touch them and see them through the New Year.
For me, on December 31, when as host I was called upon to usher in the New Year, and this I have done since the late 70s, I pleaded for silence. The music and dance and eating and drinking stopped. I asked those who wanted to stand to do so and those who were more comfortable sitting down to do so. I could hear only my voice. I heard me thank God for the year that had passed. I heard me say that all the good we had experienced and all those things we thought were bad that happened to us, to our friends, to our country, to the world, were reminders that we should have Him before us, behind us, above us, under us, over us, so that we can see joy in every event.
I heard myself say what the Holy Books have advised, that whatever happens is cause for praise of the Most High because there is nothing that happens that is not meant to advance us on the path of life. Having addressed the year that was dying, I heard myself speaking to the year that was two minutes away from us. At the end of the two minutes, the New Year would emerge from the womb of time, and we would usher it in with opening a giant bottle of champagne which we would all share before the eating and dancing would start again. I heard me say that the year coming already had in wait what had already taken place, and that the year coming would offer for us an opportunity to make future years better or worse for us, for our children, for our country, for the world. I heard myself tell all of us that we should choose what we want the year to hold in store for us. The final part of my prayer, or speech, was that we should be granted the Grace to accept the verdict that comes to us as a result of what we have done that had been passed through the mills which process them for the reward we get.
Then the hour of twelve struck and we popped the champagne and shared it and welcomed in the Year 2003.
The boys from the Cantonment in Ikeja had not arrived. We knew they would come. They have all grown into men, and many of the younger ones that came with them last year have also grown taller. With the explosions early last year that dispersed many of their parents, it was unlikely, we believed, that they would all come in one indivisible unit, as they had done over the years.
Some of them and their parents had moved out to other places. But many of them did come. They had their food, which is always reserved for them, and when it was time for them to take the floor, Dele Super, the disco man we have used for the last 12 years, urged them on with breathtaking numbers which I have identified as music for the body, not for the soul. Dele Showman, a maestro in his own right and a relation, shook his body to the heavy beat. If I had still been in that age group that would tell you who is blowing which horn, I would have identified the authors of the heavy sounds that rang from the heavy speakers of Dele Super’s outfit.
But I recalled what I read from transmissions from souls that have left here and have tried to reach back to man here on earth to warn at the things we do, things we must pay dearly for. On one occasion when one soul was communicating with the wife, it withdrew suddenly and the wife later asked why, and he said he was being pushed off by the music that was playing from the radio set. It turned out to be the music I have just referred to as music for the body.
There is music for the soul and there is music for the spirit. The latter two are for all time. They reach out to something outside of your brain. They soak into you, envelop you, infuse radiations into every cell of your body. You feel a sense of peace and your brain stops working. You may not be sleeping, but you are not day-awake. The vistas that open up are living springs in God’s Great Work. They work through your body, fumigating it, and vapourizing the toxic waste you have permitted to congest your body through what you eat, what you drink and what you think.
But the occasion we were celebrating was earthly, earthly. And how sad it is, that we are celebrating on an earth that is God’s Work, and what we vibrate enthusiastically in is not of God. Yes, the body we shake to the music with is of God. But what have we made of that body which we are told should be a temple of the Lord?
It is through the brain, which is part of that body, that we receive the music we download to the earth, and that music is grossing millions for people, and is that music that repels lighter ones that want to reach out to us for information about the distortions we have introduced into the ways we ought to be living the life God ordained. It is part of that distortion that has introduced speeches into our mode of praying, speeches we call prayer.
But speeches are products of the intellect, the brain, and address the earth and the stuff that comes from the earth. Speeches do not ascend to the Throne of Grace. Only prayers do. And there is nowhere a speech can become a prayer, even if that speech is delivered by the Pope. The mouth delivers speeches programmed by the brain. But the information that flows from on High also comes through the mouth of prophets, and is distinguishable from speeches. It is our making what comes from the mouths of prophets part of ourselves that gradually opens to us levels where our volitions can be received and transmitted upwards, to the destination they qualify for.
This weekend and next, we shall be listening to a lot of speeches, watching many groups singing songs of praise to man, and dancing to the music of the body. The two most serious parties, the PDP and the ANPP, will regale Abuja with speeches. They will be speaking to delegates who are representing millions of their supporters back home in their wards and local government areas and states. What they do in Abuja is supposed to be what will help to grow the nation and the candidates that will fly their flags at all levels will be those who, if they win their elections, will take charge of the political terrain for the next four years.
But before they start their deliberations, they are likely to pray. The prayer will run like this: O God, take charge of these deliberations. You are the chairman of this occasion. See us through peacefully and grant us journey mercies back to our homes. Then they will go into the business of finalizing what they started back home before coming to Abuja. In the local government areas, in the states, they produced documents of representatives who were supposed to have been voted for to be in Abuja to choose those who will fly their flags. There was hardly anywhere where such voting took place.
So, they are taking fraud to Abuja and will foist fraud on the people and leave Abuja with fraud. And we would have started the year with fraud which we will in the next four years be asking God to protect and defend.
In reading the February 2 piece in Today God is First by O. S. Hillman, I came across this quote credited to C. S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphones to rouse a deaf world”.
hear God’s shout! How can anyone wish us a happy new year when fruits of the fraud we have been sowing are fully ripe for the reaping! May we be sane enough to accept the outcome of our spiritual and material Nigeria has destroyed the megaphones through lack of maintenance and does not investments.