MEDICINE FOR DEATH
Death is a reality from which no one cam hide. Even when we try to supress the thought, daily events remind us of it. The truth about death is this: we are humans, we shall die one day. Death shatters our illusions of power, might and greatness. A man has one million guards, has unlimited power, has uncountable wealth, and believes in the illusion that he will live forever. But death silently penetrates his fortress of protection and takes him away. And helplessly he follows. His body’s dumped and buried like any other mortal remains. What a disgrace! Death is the great humiloator.
The fact that an individual can breathe and move about does not mean that he or she is alive. He or she may be dead. In fact, many of the people who walked our streets are dead. They have no self- knowledge. They do not know who they are, where they are going and what their destiny is. They just live aimlessly. They are ghosts. They are not alive.
We are often told that death means that the death of the body. Do not be decieved. The body does not die. The human body is composed of water, air, fire and earth. At death, the body simply disintegrates. Water returns to water. Air returns to air. Earth returns to earth. The soul returns to its source. The body does not die. The soul does not die. Nothing dies.
There is only one life – God. All other creatures are simply sharing in the same life. Life cannot die. Life manifests itself at various degrees in different creatures. Things are alive to the degree that they are in touch with in life. The further away they are from life, the more life they possess. Other creatures do not have the freedom to run away from life. They always reflect life because they always remain what they are. Each creature flourishes in its distinctiveness. The goat remains goat. They butterfly remain butterfly. The mango tree, the banana tree, the pants and the animals remain what they are. One does not strive to become like the other. Their beauty, purity and sacredness consist precisely in remaining what they are.
Human beings on the other hand have greater freedom. Freedom to be and freedom not to be. Freedom to live and freedom not to live. Your vocation is to become one with life, that is, God. Your beauty, your holiness, your happiness consists in being what you are a person fully alive in God. When you are far away from life, then you are dead. You live in darkness. You can no longer see Life. All that you see is dead. When you look around you, you will see nothing but evil and ugliness. This is death.
Many people can no longer admire the beauty of nature: the sky, the flowers, and the animals. They cannot relate well with others because others are potential demons or are possessed by evil spirits. They see demons in the food they eat and the water they drink. About sixteen years ago, when I was a schoolboy, I was traveling with a priest. When we were on the Onitsha Bridge crossing the Niger, the beautiful sight of the river, so calm, so blue, so vast, enraptured me. Not able to hide my excitement, I exclaimed: “Wait!. This river is beautiful”. “Heresy”! Shouted the priest. ” How dare you say that? There are over two thousand demons under that water” But is that really so? There are indeed evil forces and negative power in the world. But I suspect that we have invented most of the demons and evil spirits lurking around us. They are not realities, which we make into reality. Much of the Christianity of today is immature and shallow. And of course, shallow Christianity breeds shallow spirituality
What people refer to as spirituality today is properly called piety. Piety is the honor, respect or adoration given to a person or a thing that you admire and believe in and which you can thinks has some extraordinary powers or attributes. But port is not spirituality. It is part of spirituality, not the whole of it. When piety goes out of shallow spirituality, it leads to idolatory.
Spirituality is life, spirituality embraces every aspect of human life. Your spirituality is your whole attitude to life-your worldviews, your beliefs and your principles. Your spirituality is how you strive to cope with the realities of life, how you strive for meaningband happiness, how you relate with others, with yourself and with God. All these make up your spirituality. Christianity spirituality is a Christian way of understanding life, of relating with oneslef, others and God. Pagan spirituality is a pagan way of understanding the world. Everybody, then, has spiritual. Even the so- called atheist, has his own spiritual.
To be a Christian is to bematured and balanced. A spilt personality or diseased mind cannot fulfill the christian obligation to love, because love demands self-sacrifice, maturity and balance. So long as we neglect some vital aspects of our life, so long as our spirituality does not embrace every aspect of our life, we shall not be whole in mind and body.
One neglected area of life is music. Music belongs to the dimension of sound. At the beginning, there was nothing. And God said, ” Let there be light”, and ” there was light”. God uttered the word into existence. God created the world through sound. When we sing we re-echo the creative sound by which the world came into being. Music links us with our beginning, with Life, with God.
Therefore, it is sacred.
There is always a need to get in touch with our beginning, our source, our origin, so as to maintain our balance and wholeness. This is true especially in times of crisis, when we need to hear the creative sound of creation restoring us to life. But today, music has been misused. Music no longer recreates. Rather, it reflects the decay and depravity of our minds. Rather than being medicine for our soul and body, it only excites our lower senses and leaves us empty. So often, our musicians sing just to make money, or to excite the senses, not to re-echo that sound of creation that brings health and healing.
Even in our churches, music doesn’t seem to play that sumblime roll of linking us with sublime, the absolute, with God and love. Our Christian musicians hardly compose hyms that reflect the creed in a deeply meaningful and transforming way. Rather, they imitate the current pop, jazz, rock and reggae music and simply wave their ly.
lyrics into them, forgetting that the message is as important as the means of conveying it.
If you listen well to the music to the music in our churches today, you can hardly distinguish between Catholic Hymns and Anglican Hymns or Church of God Mission Hymns. Both the melody and the wordings are the same. You can no longer different a Catholic a liturgy from Methodist liturgy merely listening to their music. If one calls this ecumenism, a very shallow ecumenism it must be. Let music assume a creative role in our lives. Let music link us with life, and then we shall be healed, for music is medicine.
The video industry in Nigeria has become a very lucrative enterprise. Nearly every week, new films are released into the market. In fact, the video industry has seem to taken over the preaching work of ministers, and they influence the people’s minds more than homilies of priests.
Images are powerful. Images penetrate our souls and often remain there. Images shape our minds and souls. Whatever image enters into your mind becomes part of you.
The images presented on our television screens are nearly always about witchcraft, evil spirit, sex and violence. The video industry has conditioned our minds to expect the presence of witches, wizards and evil spirits everywhere we go. But this must not be allowed to continue. Let the people learn to see and experience the all- pervading presence of God’s heart.
Holy spirit. Let people see the beauty and wonder of nature. Let them see the beauty and holiness of all human persons. Let our actors and film producers condition people’s minds for good, not fear. To be enlightened is to be fully alive, to see reality as it is. Then we shall be happy in God. We shall die no more. This is eternal life. This is the medicine for death.
#By Reverend Adodo