As we celebrate yet another Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we should reexamine our minds in respect to our Christian duty to contributing to the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Now let us look at our own country Nigeria. Are Nigerians citizens of the Kingdom? Is God the final authority for this nation? How has Nigeria fared in realizing the Kingdom of God? BARBARA NEGBEJIE engages some Catholics.
‘There appears to be huge lack of understanding of what God’s kingdom means to nationhood’
The book of Lamentation in the Bible is a collection of poems by Prophet Jeremiah mourning the devastation of Jerusalem (and Judah at large). It depicts a nation that had lost its glory and fallen far off the standard as designed by God. Unsurprisingly, almost all the bad state of affairs described in the book is a sad reality in today’s Nigeria. Chapters 4 and 5 of the book looked like it was literally describing Nigeria. However, while many mourn the state of affairs in Judah after its destruction, more than a few people in this nation (even in its relatively worse state) tend to redefine a new standard for what excellence means by adopting a previous low standard as a new high standard as part of a coping mechanism. This is in contrast to the story of prodigal son who upon suffering economic hardship did not redefine what success is but realised how better his father’s kingdom is and made attempts to return. There is almost a lack of awareness of what “good” looks like. There appears to be huge lack of understanding of what God’s kingdom means as it relates to nationhood to such an extent that many had relegated its meaning to a weekly “emotional high” message from a religious leader in exchange for a token – a drug sufficient enough to survive the week until the next one. The situation is however redeemable. Summarily, it starts with the Church – (the only institution with the mandate such that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it). While the clergy continues to be a light in the Church, the laity must continue to be lights in the world (and not in the Church as it currently appears to be). God’s kingdom should not only be dictated in the Church but must be demonstrated in the market place of the world.
• Ezenagu Emeka
“This is the right time for us to return to God in fasting and prayers”
In rating the realisation of God’s kingdom in Nigeria taking cognisance of the social ills of the country is in fact an inevitable one. The situation we find ourselves today shows that the hands of God are in it. Sometimes God allow things to happen for His name to be glorified. Let’s take for instance, the case of the children of Israelites who asked for a king and one was given to them – 1 Samuel 4-22. It dawned on them, the costly mistake of asking for a king and they cried out to God for mercy and God who is all merciful look down with pity upon them and came to their rescue because He is God forever. Our Nigeria situation is exactly as above and this is the right time for us to return to God in fasting and prayers and surely the Will of God’s shall be done.
• Sis. Stephania Michael-Ikpa
‘The realisation of God’s kingdom in Nigeria is on course’
The realisation of God’s kingdom in Nigeria is on course despite the social ills in the country, because we must not despair. So, we must always have our heads high to ensure we live with examples for our generation to see who to emulate especially in the Christendom. Although social ills in Nigeria have been further bastardized with ethnicism, the Church should always speak out and that is one thing you can take to the bank on the side of Catholic Church via the Bishops Conference. Lastly, these social ills have dynamism based also on social evolutions. For instance, the kind of ills we have now were not there or better said were not pronounced some 25 years ago as it is today with the world of mobile technologies.
• Remmy Nweke, Group Executive Editor, ITREALMS Online
‘God’s kingdom will come in Nigeria’
The Kingdom of God was one of Jesus’ most talked about topics, but hardly a wellgrasped concept for Christians, believers and unbelievers alike, today. Before I delve into this, kindly note thus, that: “The Kingdom of God is a mystery and not a physical place.” The Greek term for Kingdom is used about 162times in the New Testament, with most of them referring the Kingdom of God. Both in the Old and New Testament, the term Kingdom is understood as dynamic in nature and refers primarily to the rule or reign of a king. Since God is the creator of everything, He reigns over all things. His role as Creator God establishes His authority over the earth and all of His creation: Psalm 24:1:- “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” But sin challenged that Kingdom. Scripture speaks of Satan’s rebellion against God, which consequentially led to the institution of the fallen angel’s establishment of a counterfeit kingdom on earth: see Revelation 12:4. Let’s not forget so quickly that it was in the same earth Adam and Eve lived, in the Garden of Eden, and what happened thereafter had trickled down from generation to generation. Our dear country Nigeria, commonly regarded as filled with milk and honey, but with attendant ills, corruption and downturns, faces the same hard-nut, faced by man generally, simply because of the rebellion of Satan right from inception. This does not necessarily mean the Kingdom of God is not at hand, or not reigning in Nigeria, as it were. “The Kingdom of God is a mystery and not a physical place.” Its Juxtaposition with earth may not be finite. The twists and turns of fate are inevitable. But since we know that God is eternal, we believe that His Kingdom is eternal; and there is always light at the end of every tunnel. Jesus also promises us a future in which the earth will be some sort of extension of God’s eternal kingdom as evident in the Lord’s prayer and the Book of Revelation. ( Our Lord’s Prayer for emphasis ). Therefore if we claim to have faith in Jesus the Christ and all that he represents, then we must believe and rightly so that God’s kingdom will come in Nigeria and all the earth. After the Dark Night, comes the dawn.
• Francis Oluwagbenga Job, Legal Practitioner.
‘Citizens should effect the change to the realization of God’s kingdom in Nigeria’
According to “Praying for the Kingdom to Come” by Dr. James Emery White, to pray that God’s kingdom will come; is to pray that His kingdom will grow as we pursue our witness to Jesus, and live lives of salt and light. So with the great commission comes a cultural commission. We pray for the kingdom to take hold of the planet; governments and institutions, judicial systems and media….” That being said, the implication is that the efforts of God’s creation will work and align with His plan for a great kingdom and going by the moral decadence in all aspects of human life, that fear of a deviation from God’s plan stares us in the face; but ultimately God’s Will will be done. Citizens should predispose themselves to intentionally effect the change we hope to see in the world, and by so doing, we will be on the part of realization of God’s kingdom in Nigeria
• Louisa Olaniyi, Broadcast Journalist