I SEE THEM ALL

My wandering eyes abruptly settle on him; he’s just a few steps ahead of me when my conscious mind picks him up. He walks with a limp as if his left leg is shorter than his right leg. His bare feet look diseased and swollen. But he walks with relatively fast steps. Something about his steps displays a rhythm, confidence, almost like assurance and full awareness of his destination, both figuratively and geographically. He walks as if he knows exactly where he’s headed and in a hurry. I can’t help wondering why a homeless old man would be headed in a hurry at such a time of the day. Homeless I said? Yeah, most probably.

My gaze explores him from his backside, and I slow down my pace with an intuitive desire to observe him more. I can’t help wondering what his story might be. Looking at his physical stature, especially his dirty dreadlocked hair, I get this mental image of a weather-beaten mud and wattle grass-thatched house that badly needs a patch up. How did he end up here? For a shirt, he’s draped in cotton puffed dirty jacket, which suggests a whole lot of other apparel that the jacket is covering. His tattered and patch covered trouser reveals more rags forced on top of each other. He seems oblivious of the scorching heat on this hot and sunny day.

His back firmly supports a fairly big fully, stuffed blue tattered polythene bag, storing probably all his earthly possessions. He comfortably clutches it over his shoulder as if it’s weightless despite his visibly thin and malnourished physical stature. Are they his changing clothes or his bedding, or both? Judging by the patches and the dirt on his clothes, I doubt if he has changed clothes in a year. Bedding? I don’t think so. His kind normally sleeps on cardboard boxes and bare floors. I normally see them on some early morning on shop verandahs on main streets and alleys.

My imaginative mind quickly gets to work to create a story, my made-up story. Question after question, mental questions; Would he coherently narrate his story if I were to ask? Of course, he has one, but would he remember most of it in a sane recollection of most of the events of his childhood, adolescence, and now as an aging sad old man? He has a birthday and a name, but does he share the same desires and feelings as mine? What are his needs, his need, for now, food maybe? How about long time needs, does he have any?
If they are alive, do they know his whereabouts, do they think about him, miss him maybe? His family! Whom does he blame for his current circumstances, fate, destiny? Is he sane enough to pass on the blame? Was his downturn a gradual steer away or he just snapped from the overwhelming weight of piled up, concealed struggles, and accumulated heartaches?

I soon get to know his destination! A few meters ahead, he takes a sharp turn and enters an alley between two high rise buildings. The midway of the alley is blocked by a small hill of accumulated uncollected garbage, trash from the surrounding restaurants and hotels. I slow down and pause in time to watch him safely drop his luggage on the side and hurriedly scavenge through the trash looking for leftovers. He methodically rips open the food leftover packages scooping out food. I subconsciously step forward in the alley at the same time searching my pockets for any lose money to hand out to him. I quickly glance at the one thousand shillings tattered note and move further forward with my stretched out hand beckoning him to take the old note. He straightens up, gives me a curious look as he holds my gaze, and then shakes his head side-ways rejecting the money. Confused, I standstill wondering why my offer of alms was forbidden. Then his wrinkled old face breaks into a grin revealing dirt-stained littered teeth that I could easily count on my hand with more gaping holes than the teeth.

In a hoarse steady voice and a schooled accent, he clarifies, “I am not a beggar, and my needs are covered, fully met” Seeing me glance around the surroundings weighing his claim, he adds, as if reading my thoughts, “I used to sing, I still sing, but only with them now, in the dead of the night.” Before I could ask, ‘who is them’, “the angels!” He looks up wide-eyed in surprise that I couldn’t pick them out on his first mention. “I don’t see them but I know they are all around me. We sing worship songs, songs to God high above all things and all beings. We have a song too many, and a few more left before I am called to go home to be with the one I worship. Then will I worship without ceasing, truly rest from this misery and sorrow. So yes, I don’t take handouts, at least not always.

You know, I see them all. I see a lot in their eyes when they hand out their pocket change.
Some I see such deep sadness in their eyes, haunted eyes. They running away from the houses they built with dirty money earned from robbing and mistreating the poor, and they think a few handouts will conceal their evil and numb their pain.
Others are looking for relief from their guilt-filled souls, they’ve been consumed by greed and love for money. Their souls are now permanently damaged and pricked with many sorrows. I see them all! The fear in their eyes and the sadness in their souls. You’re different, you give out of your religious conviction, you mean well. I won’t take your money though, but I won’t block your blessing either, you’ve already earned it. You’ve given in obedience and love-filled compassion to the least of his brothers. The intention and motive are what counts not the act. The heart in the giving is what matters, not the act nor the amount.

I could tell you my story and the valuable lessons I’ve gathered along my unfortunate path of life. But look behind you,” I glance back to see a small crowd of pedestrians slowly gathering, giving us quizzical looks questioning our intentions, he continues, “they gather to give you judgmental looks, and me contemptible sneers because we talk. The stench from my half-dead body they can’t stand. Take heart, we are of the same kind, we are brothers, we are all headed ‘THERE’. We will have enough time to catch up when we both cross over. My time comes soon, ooh what a rest that awaits me! Carry no hate for them, for neither do I, at any chance reach out to them with the TRUTH. Go in peace, and wear no prejudice on your shirt sleeve, angels will you welcome.”

He abruptly gets silent lost in thoughts, and then he looks up and gives me a polite nod. I understand I was being dismissed from his gripping presence. As I stroll back from the alley, lost in a confusion of thoughts, I couldn’t quite decide, how much of what I just heard was true. Was this dirty old man sane and saved by the same grace after all? Does his dying body conceal a beautiful and regenerated soul?
Before I could find the answers, the alarm loudly sets off, shoving me out me out of a vivid dream about a mysterious homeless old man.

Need to knock? Heaven!

Respecting other people’s privacy is one of the disciplines I have labored to instill in my children. Having to knock on the door for example before they enter our bedroom or any other private place. And because of that discipline, I can always tell the difference between their knock and my wife’s knock. My wife only knocks when I have locked myself inside the bedroom, otherwise, she just turns the door handle and enters my bedroom. It’s her bedroom too and neither is she conscious of finding me in a compromising state, for there’s nothing hidden between us in including our nakedness. She has unlimited and free access all the time and anytime. She needs no permission because it’s our bedroom. She has free access because she possesses full occupancy rights. She can neither have any fear or tension when accessing the place that she knows is fully hers as is fully mine.

Her knock on the bedroom door the other day when I had locked myself in the room for some quiet time made me open without asking who it was because I could easily tell it was her knocking. As I proceeded to open, it made me reflect on the difference between her knock from the children and the comparison to how we approach God in prayer. When we go to God in prayer, how do we ‘knock’? Do we knock as conscious and careful as children who have been lectured on proper manners or we knock as co-occupants with free access and privileges similar to the privileges of an occupant? Many of us have been raised in a religious setting where we are taught to approach God as children trained to enter their parent’s bedroom with caution and courtesy. We are taught a set of rules and manners to follow so as not to offend God so to say. We view our prayer time as a time when our demeanor changes to our ‘humble’ selves so we can display our reverence and respect for God. Most times we are convinced others are better than us when it comes to going before God, so we run around looking for anyone promising us better access to God on our behalf. How sad!

Can I suggest to you that on the contrary we have been given the privilege to approach the throne of God with confidence and boldness as co-heirs? “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.  We are no longer required to follow a set of rules and rituals. We can approach God as an equal without fear but rather reverence through Jesus Christ our high priest. Humility or reverence is not a demeanor but rather a mindset of respect and worship. When we approach God, we don’t have to speak in a certain way or put on a specific demeanor. Our reverence to God is seen in how we conduct ourselves as we go about life. It’s seen by our actions and response to life not in our conduct during prayer time. The bible says we are seated in heavenly places with Jesus. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6. From the time moment you accepted to open your heart to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you immediately experienced spiritual re-birth. Your spirit being, that was dead, instantly came alive and the Holy Spirit was deposited permanently in him as a seal and guarantee for the much more that is yet to come. From that moment, you exist simultaneously on earth and in heaven as an earthly being and a spiritual heavenly being. Your spirit is pure and alive to the things of heaven while your flesh i.e. your mind or conscience is worldly and drawn to the things of the earth.

However, God requires us to bring to submission our soul to the control of our spirit by the constant renewal of our minds through His word. We still have the power of choice and free will. We have a choice to decide whether to accept the promptings of our spirit man who is controlled by the Holy Spirit or feed the desires of the earthly man who is controlled by the natural world. And the choice we make is reflected out of us in how we live and conduct ourselves on our earthly life. At the same time, in as much as our spirit man is pure and drawn to the things of God, he has to grow more and more into the likeness of God. He grows by constantly feeding him on the word of God through the study of the Holy Scriptures and constantly meditating on them. As we continue to choose to respond to the promptings of our spirit man, who in turn is being influenced by the Holy Spirit who dwells inside of him, we start to attain a likeness of Christ Jesus. We start taking on his character and conduct. We start having his affections and purposes. We are then able to have full dominion over creation around us. We can now operate in a realm of full dominion. We operate by faith not by sight. His word ceases from just being in our heart and mind but manifesting through real actions thus establishing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. That’s the realm Jesus operated in while he was on earth. His soul was in full submission to his spirit man who was in total harmony with the Holy Spirit and that enabled him to bring heaven on earth. We can say he lived on earth but operated in the heavenly realm. He lived both in heaven and on earth, and that’s a possibility for every Christian.

So how do we get to a place where our soul is influenced by our spirit man who in turn is submissive to the Holy Spirit in us? By consistently fellow-shipping with God in prayer and His word which then builds our faith to call down the will of heaven to manifest upon the earth. We will then cast out demons, command the sick to be healed, the blind to gain sight, the lame will walk, and we will speak governments into existence and dethrone others. We will take charge of the arts and entertainment, we will command the economies of nations, we will lend and not borrow, and we will preach and enhance the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in word and power. We will take full dominion in all spheres of influence upon the earth.

We cannot then have proper fellowship intimate fellowship with God if we still view Him as distant and to be approached with careful rituals and rules. That’s operating in a canal realm of unbelief and falsehood. We can only receive what we believe. No one pleases God without faith. We are to enter the heavenly places as if entering our familiar bedroom where we have not only unlimited access but an inheritance as co-heirs. Consider then your fellowship time with God as a time to hang out with not only your father but a best buddy. Not only God who supplies all your needs according to the riches of His glory through Jesus Christ, but also as a God of all possibilities who wants to establish His kingdom on earth and desires to partner with you. Dare to believe Him for the transformation of nations, dare to ask Him for the nations as your operation ground for establishing His will and Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Lama Emmanuel🇺🇬May 28, 2020

IF ONLY YOU KNEW

If only you knew who is asking you to finally share your secret and painful abortion experience with that newly acquired Christian friend, then you would know that your appointed time for the healing you’ve been asking God for, depends on you accepting her as your accountability partner.  

If only you knew who is asking you to bring him all your baggage, then you would know that he bargained for your very life long before you knew him as your creator and father.

If only you knew who is asking you to surrender to him the choice to your career path, then you would know that he wants to replace it with a new path to your divine call.

If only you knew who is asking you to mend the differences with that co-worker, then you would know that he’s the one who has deployed you at that work place for his ambassadorial duties.

If only you knew who is asking you to end that escapade of a relationship, then you would know that he’s saving you from the pain of ending up marrying the wrong one.

If only you knew who is asking you to make amends with that uncool man, then you would know that he already knows that he’s not just a friend, but the one ordained by God to start a family with.

If only you knew who is asking for you to give away that amount you have been painfully saving to finally buy your dream car to that chronically sick friend access the treatment she needs, then you would know that you can never out give him.

If only you knew who is asking you to go ahead and confess to your husband about the cheating you have hidden from him for far too long, then you would know that not only does he want to mend your marriage, but your heart as well.

If only you knew who is asking you to totally get rid of your independent attitude in every area of your life and totally depend on him, then you would know that he has your best interests at heart.

If only you knew who Jesus truly is, then you would not view him as a the son of a tough judge with tough rules, but rather as gentle king who is offering  you his love and redemption, before dispensing his judgment and justice.

If only you knew who is asking you to cut down on the countless hours you’ve been spending watching your favorite movie series, then you would know that he wants to rekindle your soul and spirit to what is more valuable and life giving.

If only you knew who is asking you to love him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, then you would know that the love he has for you in the first place, is a love that lasts beyond a life time; a love that is unfathomable and eternal.

If only you knew who is asking you to pursue him more than you pursue the money making ventures and the thrill that comes with them, then you would know that he makes money and much more follow you when you make him the master and lord of your life.

Lama Emmanuel🇺🇬May 18, 2020

love thy enemy

For look, therefore the Lord has given us two eyes and only one mouth, so that we shall look at everyone with one eye as human beings but with the other one as bothers!

If human beings are failing before us, we should keep the brother eye open and close the human eye; but if brothers are failing before us, we should close the brother eye and direct the human eye to ourselves, and should look at ourselves as failing human beings, even against our failing brothers.

But with one mouth we should all profess together one God, one Lord and one Father, so that He will accept us as His children.

Because in the same sense, God has also two eyes and one mouth; with one eye He looks at His creatures and with the other one at His Children!

When we look at each other with the brother eye, our father looks at us with the Father eye; but if we look at each other with the human eye, God looks at us only with the Creator eye and His only mouth announces His love to His children and His judgment to His creatures!

Lama Emmanuel🇺🇬April 14, 2020

I Have a Dream

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write a bed time story that will be read to that child that is scared of being alone in the darkness of her room. And by the time the father reads half the story, the little child will have slumbered off, finally drifting into a well-deserved quiet and peaceful night. And as each night the story is read, she slowly begins facing her fears, only to realize, that she was never really alone to begin with, but rather, in constant company of her unseen guardian Angel.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write a couplet poem, upon being read by a confused, hurting, angry and lost teenager, his soul will finally be illuminated and at peace upon discerning that he is special, unique and was created for a specific purpose and destiny. And that he is meant to fulfil his God given purpose in his life time. And that nobody has the power to stop it, destroy it, or hinder it in any way whatsoever, except him.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write an inspiration article to be picked up by a young girl who has been haunted by her dark past. A past that is littered with a series of bad choices she made over the years of her careless and reckless lifestyle. But now the therapitic composition helps her realize that a divine offer is at hand, wrapped in a gift called ‘second chance,’ that is extended out to her by her creator. And that the voices that have plagued her mind with a daily evil anthem of, “kill yourself,” can now finally be silenced.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write song lyrics that will fall in the laps of a gifted but hopeless alcoholic, who has lost everything, including the will to make the music that he so much loved to make when he was much younger. And by the time he’s done reading the lyrics, a new beat will echo in his mind, with it a new hope will arise in him, convincing him that his life is done after all. That he can rise again, this time with a determination to make music that will transform not just entertain and mislead.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write an exposition of a passage of scripture, that will be read by an old-man on his death bed. And that he will finally overcome the over-powering fear of death and the unknown afterlife that has plagued him for as long as he can remember. He will finally get the revelation of another much better life that is available to him in the person of Jesus Christ; His Life, Death and Resurrection as revealed in the stories and Holy writings of the living word of God, the Bible.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write a political commentary, after being read and discarded by many hands, that it will finally find home in the reading collection of young and fearless revolutionist who has been diligently seeking God for years regarding this hunger to transform his country. He will then receive his confirmation that, his is a calling to turn the destiny of his country from a poor and immoral country, to a prosperous and God fearing Nation, by leading likeminded revolutionists.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will craft a comical play that carries a hidden message that will be dramatized and then serve to help those that seek subtle and creative ways to awaken people’s awareness regarding the responsibility they have to rise up against the ruthless dictatorship that has tormented their society for so long and rendered them powerless. Yet, a simple play, staged right before their tormentors, delivers the message to the masses without suffering the wrath of the usual censorship that other awakening messages face.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write an imaginary story that will be captivating enough to capture the hearts of young women, and go on to inspire them to pledge their very own lives to a life time of selfless social service, fully dedicated to transforming the lives of the down trodden and the forgotten poor of the poorest of the world. Giving them a new hope to dream again, instead of the daily life of struggling to stay alive amidst the limited access to the basic needs of life.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will publish a news article that will highlight the extent of the injustice in our society that is daily unleashed on the weak and defenseless by the very people that are supposed to dispense justice to them. And that the bulletin will provoke a few learned men and women to lay aside all their misguided pursuit of wealth and fame, to instead pursue a life defined by a fight for Justice and fairness to all men, regardless of their social status, race or gender.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I will write a sermon that will be powerful enough to inspire a lonely house wife who has never found any meaning or purpose in her daily chores as a stay at home mother, to finally understand that hers is a divine and noble purpose. And that, she is slowly but surely nurturing and raising a young man who will finally grow up to be a powerful evangelist that will spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations of the world.

I have a dream, I have a dream that I am a writer, and that my writings will send out a rallying call to all those that have deep-seated within them the same gifting; a loud trumpet blowing calling out all writers to finally rise up and take their rightful places, to inspire generations, through crafting stories and songs , poems and plays, articles and critiques, commentaries and accounts, songs and sermons, to help society; seek, discover, pursue and fulfill their God given purposes, thus leaving the world a better place than they found it.

Lama Emmanuel🇺🇬March 14, 2020.

You’re What You Read

There’s a common saying that, “you’re what you eat.” The wisdom here is that, the kind of food you feed on contributes a lot to your physical being. Not to say that other factors like genetic composition, environment, exercising and so forth are not relevant. They do have a contribution to your general body outlook to some extent. At the same time, the saying serves to point out the importance of food to your body as a contributing factor to it’s well being if not the most important. Feed it on junk, you churn out a ‘junky’ body, for lack of a better word. And the reverse is true, feed the body on the right nutrients in their right measure of calories, then you end up with a healthy body.

Similarly, what you feed your soul will determine who your inner man turns out to be. And in this write up, I would love to focus more on information in-take, specifically through reading. It’s an open secret that we as Africans have been know not to be that enthusiastic about reading as much as our friends across the seas. And the effects and consequences are glaringly obvious even if we don’t indulge ourselves in discussing them. Another saying was even coined out of our miserable reading culture, ‘if you want to hide something, put it in a book.” We both know that whoever said it was polite enough to edit out the word ‘African’ in the sentence. We just silently know they were talking about us, we didn’t need to be told. We knew we are terrible readers!  But currently, I would also like to point out that this narrative is slowly changing and has been changing over the years. Blacks or African to be precise, are doing some serious reading now. Adults have started reading beyond school completion and academics. Then as parents, they are taking, or should I say we are taking an extra step to instill a reading culture in our children. In all fairness we need a part on the back and be told that we are doing a great job.

However, I would love to pause us for a moment of reflection on this ‘reading crusade’ if I can call it that. And by pause, I don’t mean that you stop reading this article right about now, by pause, I am saying, please read on, because I have a concern to raise regarding our journey of becoming serious readers and raising a generation after us that loves reading as well. On top of the enthusiasm about reading that we have cultivated, we should also fertilize this garden with ‘choice of what we are reading.’ What do I mean; its great that we are now reading, but we should read with an end in mind. Why are we reading what we are reading? How do we come up with the choice of the material that we read? What is the end game here, what do we want to achieve at the end of it all? How do we want reading to influence our children all the way to their adult life?

Of course I know there are so many reasons why people read; some for entertainment or just to ‘kill’ the boredom, others for self improvement, some to follow the trends, just because it looks cool to be a reader, others just to be informed and upto date with the world around them. The reasons might be as many as the readers. But do you know how powerful of a tool reading is? It’s a mind nuclear weapon. And like any weapon, it can either be dangerous or helpful depending on how we use it. Straight away I can tell you this, you can never un-read what you have read just like you can’t un-see what you have seen. No matter how blank your mind seems to some of the things you have read over the years, the information is well folded and hidden away in your sub-conscious closet and is always retrieved and consulted when ever it’s needed or convenient to do so. And I can guarantee you that this information, covertly has an influence on you and your thinking. Reading shapes your mindset, attitudes, beliefs, even your very interpretation of life.

Well, you may ask. Then how do you develop filters for what to read and what not to read? What is poisonous to your mind and damaging to your soul, and what is not? Don’t you first read the material to determine what it is about before you can then go and a head to decide whether you should read more of it or not? I am afraid to say that, to answer you might require me to first attend the philosophy class and pass it with flying colors. Considering that to ask me to attend the class is too much to require of me at this point in life, I excuse myself. But here is the the point I am putting forth for debate or reflection; don’t ignore the read flags that are raised every time you pick up a book or any material to read. Some reading is harmful and poisonous to the well being of your inner man, the same way that bad food is harmful to your body especially when taken over a long period. If your conscience(and every one has one by the way) is screaming or whispering that the diet you are feeding your mind is unhealthy, then you will do well to oblige at the earliest knock. If you are reading material that is watering the weeds of lust in your mind garden, then trash it. If you are reading material that is robbing the harvest in your spiritual garden, then look for something that will fortify your spiritual fence instead. Not every material written should be read ‘heartily’ and not every book authored is of value to your soul. True, a lot of material will better your inner man, but some will harm your soul. There’s actually one wise man who said, I quote, “But, my child, let me give you further advice; Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.” I wonder if he was talking about too much reading, or about the material you choose to read, or both? Over to you!

Perhaps you are wondering, by what and whose authority do I command and order people around about what to read or not to read? Well, none! I am afraid such authority is too much to be vested in yours truly. About the ordering you around, I am not, I actually do a terrible job even with people I am supposed to order around about the things I am supposed to order them around about. I am just appealing to the voice you have ignored for far too long. That still small and tender voice that has seemingly gone quiet . That voice that warned you that, the pornographic material you were feeding your mind in that gripping novel was just fuel to your lust. The one that normally warns you about the ‘trendy’ self improvement material that tell you that you can better yourself, that you just have to tap into the energy inside of you, the one that whispered, ‘you are reading garbage’. The one that raised a red flag about that teaching.  The one that has tried so much to weave a strong filter and sieve for the information that goes through  your mind to feed soul, but you keep poking holes in it by muting it. The voice still calls, quiet as it may seem now. If I can add a disclaimer at this point, “I am not tying to impose my reading on you, neither am I filtering information for you.” If only you can reach out and ask that voice about these claims that I have asserted in this write up, to weave for you a sieving net around your mind to separate the sand from the precious pearls. Just reach out and ask, you will discover that its not just a voice after all, but rather a person. Yes, a person!

My Sunday Clothes

When we were growing up, our parents had a set of clothes for each of the five of us that were strictly meant for church going. What that meant was that in no way could we be dressed in these clothes while at home. The closest we would come to wearing them not on a Sunday, was when we had very important visitors(“very” is emphasized here) come over to our home. Or may be sometimes on a rear trip to town, when, for whatever reason, we had to tag along with them.

And strictly speaking, I can understand the wisdom behind separating the clothes for the special occasions. Home clothes would definitely get dirtier and older much quicker as you would expect from any energetic nine or ten year old. So they didn’t have to be fancy or expensive. That way they could be cheap and easy to replace. While the church clothes were just occasional, they could then be a little more stylish or even cost a little more. Hence the separating.

That’s for when we were kids. What about now? Even as a grown up, with my own home to run, a wife to love and please and kids to father, I seem to be taking on the same culture. But, specifically with the kids, I should add. As an individual, I have clothes for special occasions too. Short pants(rarely though because my legs are very private parts too, because of their size), vests and sweat pants and generally those simple clothes for my laid back times are strictly for home. Then suits for special occasions like wedding parties and typical formal gatherings. Khaki pants and jeans plus cotton shirts are for my week days, the hassle attire. But I have no special clothes for Sunday.

When it comes to my Sunday choice clothes, it’s normally well fitting faded jeans, a cotton shirt, well tucked in, completed with formal shoes with a matching belt, if you can call that special. Almost similar to the clothes I normally wear during the week for my work errands. It’s a dress cord that lies between a formal dress-code and casual dressing. That way, am able to maintain my desire for casual dressing but at the same time survive being frowned at for being ‘shabby’ when you enter the office of a Ugandan who has “arrived”. Sometimes though, I even wear sneakers to church. Please note that I said sometimes if you are the kind harboring thoughts of abusing me already. I belong to a non-denominational church where appearing on Sunday in casual clothes is not mostly not frowned at (luckily). And for my own safety next Sunday, they are all always smart in their mostly causal and clean clothes.

On the other hand, there are sanctuaries where the dress code is like a wedding gathering. Everybody is formal and sharply dressed. If you attend the service on a typical Sunday dressed in my described attire, your prayer would perhaps end up being that the service ends quickly so you can  survive the cold stares from every neighbor. That is to say, if you came looking to make the church your home church, you would have to overhaul your Sunday wardrobe. Everybody dresses sharply and walks elegantly in that congregation. There seems to be a silent expectation on everybody to fall in-line if they consider themselves a member of the church. You have to dress appropriately so to say if you are to belong.

Putting aside the question of the right dressing( we are not talking about skimpy or decent dressing here by the way), does what we wear to church on Sunday really matter? Should I extend my childhood culture of setting aside “special clothes for Sunday” to my adult life? Is there an expectation from God regarding our attire and dress-code when we enter His sanctuary with thanks giving and praise? Is He very concerned about our apparel draping? And I am not talking about your priest’s ceremonial robes. Not the ‘shepherd’, but I am asking about the ‘sheep’. Does any body know the dress code specifications from heaven for a passionate African? Even asking the dress code question tastes so bitter in my mouth now considering the fact that, the business of church, in my opinion, should be a matter of souls that are perishing and what to do about it.

But again, the seriousness with which most gatherings take the dress code and the general idea of how you look as you come to congregate on a typical Sunday compels me to ask the above un comfortable questions, if not then, I ask in contempt of the whole self obsession and public image we get sucked into sometimes instead of focusing on the real kingdom business. Please forgive me if I appear rude and backward, but  I would hate to see a soul in search of love and acceptance, enter our sanctuary, and the first thing they notice is the judgmental looks we give them, just because they are dressed less elegantly or differently from us. That said, please wear your tie and suit to church, but don’t give me the judgmental stare, most importantly don’t give it to that unfamiliar neighbor searching for love and acceptance. I think I can handle the ‘stare’, but they might not. Souls searching for love most times are hurting and sensitive souls. Lets not push them out of the ‘hospital’.

Give out the flowers now

Don’t wait for me to be gone, to tell the kind the kind thoughts you had about me in your eulogizing speech. Thoughts not said in time, kind as they might be, they are stillborn words. Do you feel love for me in your heart? |Then tell me so now, don’t express them in bouquets, well arranged on top of a casket that holds my lifeless body. We both know, the view has never been good, with eyes closed.

Seen a gift you think I would love? Buy it and deliver it while I still live, don’t wait to use the money as your funeral contribution for my burial expenses. It would truly be a kind gesture, but I would never know you cared that much to even notice my tastes and likes. A gift would do the job much better than ‘mabuggo’.

You love her? Tell her so today. You miss him? Reach out by all means. You appreciate them? Get them a small gift. Is she still alive, your mother? Go visit her. The old man still lives? Let him know that you love and think about him. Siblings? Catch-up a little bit more often. Children? be more affectionate as compared to the rebukes. Give out the flowers now, while we both still live.

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