Saturday, August 18, 2007

A recruitment drive at a funeral

A few years ago my wife and I went to a funeral of one of her friends in Lusaka, Zambia. The service was held in a very impressive modern church. Mary, the deceased, had been an active member of the church and the building was packed full of mourners from the church and her family and friends.

The service took the normal sort of pattern. A few hymns, readings from the Bible and some preaching. The preaching was the usual sort of fair I got used to in Pentecostal style churches. The Pastors were charismatic and good orators but thoroughly lacking in any theology to underpin their preaching.

Half way thrrough the service I was sickened by what took place. The leading Pastor (perhaps a self ordained Bishop?) took to the Pulpit and began to preach fire and brimstone type material. He praised the late Mary for choosing Jesus to be her 'personal saviour' and then went on to warn those of us who hadn't done the same thing that we were to be damned unless we repented and proclaimed 'Jesus Christ to be our personal saviour.' To my surprise about a dozen members of the congregation were inspired to rise from their pews and to go to the front of the church to be blessed by the Pastor/Bishop. These people were then taken by one of the other Pastors to 'sign up' for the church. All this took place as the deceased lay before the altar in an open casket. To my mind the whole thing lacked decency and showed little respect for the deceased. However, I'm sure that the dozen new converts would have brought in some extra revenue for what was clearly a fast growing and vibrant business (or do I mean church?)

1 comment:

amelia-albertine said...

No, I think you mean business. Definitely business.