By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma
A certain inquisitive young man approached me casually and asked, “Father, can there be Easter without Good Friday?” I looked at him pitifully and asked in return, “Young man, what type of question is that? Are you in your senses or is there a knot missing from your medulla oblongata?” He replied, “I just want to know because an enquirer does not miss the road.”
In contrast, I told him that an enquirer can miss the road if he is misdirected. I narrated to him how I was a pressed one day and urgently needed to empty my swelling bladder. As a gentleman I couldn’t urinate indiscriminately. I stopped at a less busy area. Then, I quietly walked to a nearby shop and asked the shopkeeper, “Please is there any white house around here where I can answer the call of nature?”
He smiled and replied, “Yes, Man of God. There is a lot of white houses here. But why can’t you answer the call here?” I requested him to direct me to a descent one.” He obliged me. I locked my car with the remote control and followed him behind.
At last, he stopped in front of a bungalow painted in attractive white paint. He said, “This white house is excellent. Enter there and answer your natural call quickly. They have nice land and mobile phones. You can even spend the night there because this white house is air conditioned.” I asked him emotionally, “Young man, are you not lettered?” He laughed and replied, “Of course. I have written many letters in pigin English.
Also I have received many letters from friends and well-wishers.” With a frowned face I told him that I was not joking. I explained to him that the white house I meant is toilet and that call of nature means that I want to urinate. He wrapped his fingers over his nose and shouted, “Huu-uu-u!!! But the American President lives in white house. Does it mean that a whole president of world power lives in a toilet?”
I retorted, “Mr. Man you need urgent psychiatric treatment.” He shouted, “I am not mad. After all I was busy in my shop when you asked me to take you to the nearest decent white house where you can answer the call of nature. I sacrificed my time and business to help you. Bye-bye!” He walked away. Luckily a good Nigerian took me to a nearby descent commercial white house where I eased myself and continued my journey.
When my immediate younger sister and I were living at home with our paternal grandmother, we were always busy with farm work and house chores. One day, l left my sister in the kitchen to do all the cooking alone while I relaxed on a cushion chair waiting to be served when the food was done.
After cooking, my sister ate her own share of food inside the kitchen and locked it without serving me. She was angry that I didn’t help her.
With hunger mesmerizing my empty stomach, I asked her to give me my own food. She looked at me and said, “No sweat, no sweet.” She went further to inscribe it at the lintel of our kitchen door. From that day I learnt my lesson. I started sweating with her in the kitchen so that I can share from the sweet.
Some time ago in Nigeria, the Academic Staff of the Federal universities embarked on a prolonged strike. They refused to go back to class till all their demands were met by the Federal Government. The federal government put it clearly to them in black and white: “No work, no pay.”
It was a tough tussle. Where two elephants are fighting, the grasses suffer. The students stayed idle at home for several months. They lost almost an academic year. Many students therein became school dropouts. Since an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, some of the students ended up in criminal acts.
During the early days of the Church, the Thessalonians refused to go to work on the belief that the world was about to end with the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore they found it unnecessary again to do any work. When Saint Paul the great Missionary learned of their idleness, he quickly wrote to them in these words, “If anyone will not work, let him not eat.
For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busy bodies, not doing any work. Now, such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living” (2 Thess. 3:10 -12). A popular English saying emphatically expresses: “There is no food for a lazy man (woman inclusive).”
During my childhood days, whenever we see or hear the sound of an aeroplane, we shouted on top of our voices, “Aeroplane, drop us bag of money-oo!!!” Indeed, it was an effort in futility. If it was a war plane during the unfortunate Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, it dropped bombs instead of money. Then, we scampered for safety.
I overheard a new generation prosperity pastor shouting in an early morning cry, “God did not create anybody to suffer! Suffering is a curse! Poverty is a taboo! There is glory without the cross. Easter is possible without Good Friday. With God everything is possible. Claim it!” Such prosperity pastors think like the Greeks.
Thus, the Holy Scripture through the lips of St Paul says, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is greater than human wisdom; and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor, 1:22-25).
Simply put, the Greeks conceive the event of Good Friday as God’s foolishness. Can God not save mankind without the Cross? The teachings of the Church are often seen in the eyes of the world as contradicting natural processes. It is like swimming against the current. Indeed, God acts in mysterious ways. I am a theologian as well as a comedian.
All said and done, there is no Easter without Good Friday. In other words, there can be no victory without cross. It is only in corrupt society that suspicious victory can be achieved without undergoing the rigorous way of the cross. Often, in our country Nigeria, we see where the monkey works while the baboon enjoys.
This is commonly expressed as “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop.” Corruption in this country seems to be endemic. The outgoing President Buhari once said that if we do not kill corruption, then corruption will kill us. He is quite right. In fact corruption has started the killing right from the seat of power. Unfortunately, their corpses refused to decay. Those dead corpses are still walking about freely.
I can’t imagine how someone can win election without the people’s mandate. It has happened in Nigeria and it is still happening. The just unconcluded Presidential Election and nocturnal announcement of the President-elect is a clear manifestation that Easter can be possible without Good Friday in parenthesis.
Sane Nigerian citizens at home and in diaspora are mourning over the charade called Election. On the other hand, the few insane are rejoicing over the selection. This has caused the country to be more divided than never on ethnic, religious, political and social dimensions. The world is watching. God is also watching. Easter without Good Friday can never stand.