Life: What a journey, CHARLES CHISALA
I AM at my witsâ€™ end as I pen this piece. All my efforts to help some people understand that there is a difference between the words â€˜internalâ€™ and â€˜eternalâ€™ have come to naught.
Some Christians have consistently been saying that Jesus Christ has promised them â€œinternal lifeâ€. One gentleman recently stood before an entire congregation to speak about the importance of planning.
â€œAs Christians we donâ€™t plan for this life alone. We are also planning for internity. If we follow Godâ€™s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus he shall give us internal life,â€ he said.
Of course what he meant was that we should plan for eternity, and that if we obey Jesus and depend on him he will give us eternal life.
During a Bible study I spent quite some time explaining that what Jesus has promised us is not internal life but â€œeternal lifeâ€. I also explained that the noun form of the word eternal, which is an adjective, is eternity, and not internity.
In my naivety I thought I had driven the point home, that I would no longer hear people misuse and confuse the two completely different words.
But alas, I heard someone urging congregants to pray to God to count them among those who will receive â€œinternal lifeâ€ at the resurrection of the dead.
â€œPlease, brothers and sisters,â€ I pleaded, â€œthere is no such thing as internal or external life in Christianity. Internal life simply means life that is inside while external is the opposite. It means life that is outside.
â€œI donâ€™t think that is what the Bible says.â€
Then there is this propensity for speaking English even when there is no need.
The purpose of preaching or speaking to a large audience is to communicate.
But if you mispronounce or misapply certain words, terms and phrases the people you are speaking to may pay more attention to the mispronunciations and misapplications than the message.
Learn from me. I am a journalist with many years of experience in the print media, but I know that English is not my mother tongue.
I canâ€™t express myself as well as I do in my mother language.
So every time I am given an opportunity to preach or interpret a sermon for a preacher I use CiBemba, in which language I am able to express myself more effectively because it is my mother tongue.
In fact I have a distinction in CiBemba on my Form V certificate.
There is no harm in using your local language when you are speaking to an audience that understands it.
I have also noticed that there are some brethren who find it difficult to distinguish between the letters R and L.
â€œMy blathas and sisters, theliz a place that God has kept folas in heaven. Only the lighteous will inhelit the kingdom of God,â€ one brother has been saying at my congregation.
â€œWhen Jesus Klast comes he will give us lest. So let us make things light with Godâ€
This reminds me of one church elder in Ndola who used to excite the youths every time it was his turn to preach.
Every time the elder mispronounced or misused a word or phrase the young congregants would excitedly shout, â€œAmen! Tell us elder! Glory!â€
Even the church choir joined sometimes.
Unaware that they were mocking him, the man would be beside himself with happiness thinking that they were impressed with his â€˜powerfulâ€™ preaching.
â€œOne day, Jesus Christ was going to River Jordan where John the Babatist was babatizing. Jesus got babatized to give us an example. So my brother if you are not babatized then you donâ€™t belong to Jesus,â€ he said one day as he was preaching.
Amid incessant interjections from the pews filled by the youths the man of God continued, â€œIf Jesus he wanted, he cannot go inside the water because he is the Saviour. But look, he bend down and agree to be babatized by John.
â€œAnd the Holy Spirit he came down as a dove on top of the head of Jesus.â€
Later he switched to the story of Jesusâ€™s visit to the home of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus.
In this episode, as told in the Gospel according to the apostle Luke, Jesus was in Bethany and visited the home where Martha lived with her sister Mary.
The Bible records that while Martha was busy with preparations for the visitorsâ€™ meal Mary was at the feet of Jesus Christ listening intently to the words of life.
The diminutive church elder preached:
â€œThen Martha he complained to Jesus, â€˜Lord, donâ€™t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!â€™ â€˜Martha, Martha,â€™ the Lord answered, â€˜you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.â€™
He continued, â€œMartha he was too busy with the things of this world, but Mary she was interested in salvation. He was concerned with what the visitors will eat but Jesus tell him (Martha) that what was important was the life than food.
â€œAre you a Martha or a Mary? What are you interested in, my brother, my sister?â€
The youths were beside themselves with excitement.
â€œTell us elder! Amen elder! Preach onâ€¦!â€ they were shouting while laughing and punching the air. They were enjoying the farce.
The other elders could only hang their heads helplessly, some of them trying to smile away their embarrassment.
Misinterpreting the youthsâ€™ shouts as appreciation of his preaching skills the preacher was jumping up and down while pacing about and violently banging the pulpit with his small right fist, twice almost knocking it out of its position to more shouts.
Later, after the church service, one woman was heard complaining, â€œI donâ€™t know why they like putting him on the preaching rota. Canâ€™t he just preach in Bemba or Nyanja, which is his mother language?â€
Well, that was her opinion.
Also, I donâ€™t know why some people have continued pronouncing the word â€˜technicalâ€™ as â€œtekenikoâ€ when it is supposed to be pronounced as â€˜tek ni kelâ€™.
And is it biblical or bibilical? When was the letter â€œIâ€ inserted between the second B and L? Enough for today pals.
Life: What a journey, CHARLES CHISALA