Sunday 30 June 2019

No Sinner is a Christian

I was thinking this morning.... about that Billboard at Yenagoa junction by Mbiama in Rivers State. As we journeyed from Aviara in Delta state back to Port Harcourt last weekend after attending the burial ceremony of the mother of my colleague, I was engrossed in some literatures for the most part. At a point I looked up and asked where we were and was told we were in Bayelsa state. Looking ahead, I saw the billboard, that billboard that had intrigued me for decades, with the inscription, 'No Sinner is a Christian' and immediately knew we were at Yenagoa junction at Mbiama. I lowered my head and fond memories began to flood my mind. 

Those five words, 'No Sinner is a Christian' are not ordinary to me because they remind me of the days gone by. The billboard holds special memories of 1985 when I had to leave Warri to Port Harcourt for the very first time. My elder brother had been admitted at the University of Port Harcourt the year before, a period before the introduction of mobile phones. He had sent a message home that he was broke and needed money for food. After serious scooping, my parents were only able to put together N25 (twenty five naira) and a bucket of garri. Since there was no one travelling to Port Harcourt, I was asked to take the money and garri to him in school. Unknown to us, on the same day I set out from Warri to Port Harcourt, my brother had boarded a vehicle from Port Harcourt to Warri. We missed ourselves. Though it seemed like a journey in futility, but being my very first trip to the famous Garden City, every kilometre was an experience. But the unforgettable moment for me was beholding those five words 'No Sinner is a Christian,' written in white on the black background of the billboard strategically located at a point they say was Yenagoa junction. For me, Yenagoa junction never remained the same, because whenever I passed by, I was reminded that 'No Sinner is a Christian.'

For many years, I kept asking myself if it was true that no sinner is a christian. The play of words and use of simple syntax somewhat masks the subtle warning behind the words. Back home, I pondered on those words into the next day which was a Sunday. Later that evening, a couple in church paid my wife and I a surprise visit. After making acquaintances, the wife told a story of how her former boss was so mean to the point of sacking her on trumped-up charges. This very rich, supposedly Christian boss, she said, for some reason had a church beside his house both in the city and in the village. The boss had told her, with a smile of satisfaction on his lips, of how he was so angry with the 'noise' from the church on a particular service day, that he stormed the church, grabbed the Pastor and started pummeling him. As the congregation fled, he not only beat the Pastor to pulp, he destroyed the church equipment. Goodness me! Why did he take the laws into his hands instead reporting to the authorities, if he felt his right was violated? The picture of the billboard at Yenagoa junction flashed by reminding me that 'No Sinner is a Christian.'

I understand that falling into sin does not make you a sinner, but if sinning has become a way of life for you then you are a sinner and John 9:31 says God hears not sinners. So when the news broke of a Pastor alledgedly raping a celebrity years ago, and the denials that followed, my heart weeps, for I know not who is telling the truth. One thing I know is agreeing with the message on the billboard at Yenagoa junction in Mbiama that 'No Sinner is a Christian.' 

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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