By Ernest Bazanye
Not everyone who calls Him “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, our saviour once admonished. A few people apparently heard this and thought: “Well, we must make sure we call loud enough, otherwise we shall be bounced.” And this was the result.
Brutal noise: Noise that barges in to your windows and grabs the sleep out of your head and flings it out into the darkness, noise that then proceeds to stamp on your head for all the hours until dawn. Local pharmacies and bars register spikes in orders for valium and vodka every time they hear that the local kiwempe church is having an “overnight” aka Overnight Prayers, aka Nuisance.
Those Days: There was a time when we would hear our local churches from our homes and think: “Oh, how sweet the songs of praise I hear as the faithful offer up worship unto the Lord. I must go and join them, that I may meet the Lord, too.”
But now? Now we say: “Lord, make it stop!” When people say they are mostly taking the Lord’s name in vain, but still, they genuinely wish the Lord would make those jerks actually stop praising Him, or at least stop praising Him so loudly.
Think of it: The service only needs to be loud enough for the person in the back to hear, right? Anything else is excess. Superfluous. One might even say greedy.
So, what makes a person who only needs 50 metres of sound decide to instead buy, activate, fuel and power a kilometre of sound? Is it love, charity, kindness, compassion, thinking of your neighbour before yourself as the Lord prescribed? No, they have applied flagrant conceit, callous meanness, runaway vanity and have decided that their neighbour can go screw himself because they want to have a loud party and do not care about anybody else.
On any given night: You know that there are people in there who need to rest. People reading for exams, people who are ill... At the very least, there are babies. If you walk into a room where a baby is asleep and bellow “PRAISE GAD HALLELUJAH!” at the top of your voice, you will not be called pious and devout, you will be called a stupid, selfish jerk. And that is waking up one kid for a few seconds. Now, waking up an entire neighbourhood of kids for a whole night?
So what do you suggest? I suggest we continue to suffer as victims of these Pharisees. I suggest we put up with it. Just allow. Swallow. Suffer locally. The Ugandan way.
Or: Or if you have the courage and are ready to be as much of an ass as they are, you could consider the exhortation from Luke 6:31: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Clearly, they want us to do unto them what they do unto us, so let us become as much of a nuisance to them as they are to us.
Perhaps begin by dumping our rubbish inside their church. That is a strategy I read about on the internet once. Worked in Nigeria. Though I would be more partial to going to the pastor’s house when he is taking his nap (to rest after his all-night service) and shouting Bebe Cool songs underneath his window.