Editor's Comment

Respect the clergy

THE Church and clergy are ideally supposed to be revered due to the sacred nature of their role in society.
The clergy in particular are to be accorded the highest level of respect due to man. This is because biblically, the clergy are considered to be messengers and representatives of God here on earth. The clergy devote their lives to searching the heart of God through the scriptures and prayer, after which they relay the message to the congregants.
The clergy are by level of devotion considered to be closer to God. It is common for people faced with various challenges to seek help from the clergy. This is because pastors are considered to be reservoirs of God’s wisdom and conduits through which God reaches out to humanity.
The clergy are also considered to occupy a higher office than that of politicians. This is why the Church and the clergy in particular play the advisory role to those in political leadership.
From time immemorial, the clergy have occupied a special place of honour in society.
We are, however, taken aback by the level of disrespect being exuded towards the office of the clergy by society today.
Yesterday, an Anglican priest was beaten by a church member while preaching in Lusaka’s Kalingalinga area.
It is alleged that the incident comes after the priest called for church elections, which angered some church members.
According to the Police spokesperson, Esther Katongo, it is alleged that while the priest was preaching, one of the members went there and ordered him to stop preaching.
She said when the priest resisted, the named member began dragging him and punched him in the face.
It is really saddening that the once sacred office of the clergy is losing its sacredness.
How can a member have the audacity to even lay a finger on a man of God?
This is evidence that society’s moral fibre is eroding at a very fast rate.
The beating of the Anglican priest is not an isolated incident.
We’ve had cases where pastors have been locked out of sanctuaries over differences.
Today we have so many people talking down or literally undressing men of the cloth on social media.
As though this is not enough, petty thieves have also extended their theft territories to churches.
Not too long ago, we had a story in which thieves broke into a Catholic church and helped themselves to wine.
These things were rarely heard of in the past. What has happened to this generation?
Whatever the case, there is no justification for beating up a clergy. Those who understand the scriptures know that harming a clergy can attract God’s wrath. The Bible in Psalms 105:15 says, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” It is as plain as that.
Whatever the grievances some members may have, we believe every well-established church has systems in place through which grievances can be addressed.
Even in the absence of any satisfactory systems to address grievances, we believe members have the option of leaving and finding another church.
People are not bound to churches like they are to their families. If they do not agree with the doctrines or if their spiritual needs are not met, they are at liberty to relocate to other churches instead of forming rebel groups within a church.
While we call for society to respect the office of the clergy, it is also expected that the men and women of the cloth will also conduct themselves in a manner befitting their calling.
Now than ever before, it has become difficult to distinguish the genuine clergy from fake ones.
It is true that the Church has been invaded by fraudsters who are masquerading as men of God.
These have contributed to the loss of respect for the Church and genuine clergy.
The Church must rise up and reclaim its place of sacredness before it becomes just one of those social clubs.
Lord help us!

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