SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2011.
THE ‘EMBER’ MONTHS: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him’ Psalm 24v1.
Most people enter the ‘ember months’ namely September, October, November and December with great apprehension. To this group of people, the season is characterized by evil, hardship, ostentatious living and desperation in accumulating worldly goods. For us in Nigeria it is understandable because some of our people think and feel that life is about wealth, loose living, feasting and drinking. And so, a little reference is made to God, if at all.
It has been attested that during ember month’s evil multiple and most people become too desperate about material things. Reason being that they want to show off at the last month of the year as having arrived. It is unfortunate people do not stop and think, how come this their sudden affluence?
There are some who are griped with fear as to volume of deaths likely to occur in this season. Some people seem to be programmed not to finish the ember months. Reckless driving seems to be on the high side and many lives uncontrollably lost at this season.
However, the Psalmist reminds us, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. God is incharge of all seasons including ember months. This is a direct call to rekindle our hope in God and to buffet fears on all sides. If God owns the earth which He called into being and everything there are that exists, the child of God should not be overwhelmed by this season.
For those who are matured in faith, ember months have come not to be a terror but a time of prayer and sober reflection on the mercies and goodness of God in one’s life. Yes, some set aside time for personal or family retreat to seek the face of God and to ask Him to lead one into the coming year.
With the volume of environmental degradation and pollution, biological and chemical threats to human existence, it has become increasingly necessary even at ember months to get closer to God. The signal from ozone layer is not encouraging at all. We have witnessed flooding, volcanic eruptions, collapse of buildings across the globe and political upheavals and down turn in the global world economy. I think the season of ember month should be spent to recognize who God is. Despite threats to human existence, God in His mercy has kept us alive.
You begin to question the morale with which people engage in heinous acts, shedding precious blood and indulging in loose living as if at ember months, the world will come to an end. No matter what they display at the end of each year, God is the only one who knows the end, the Son confirms this. ‘No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’ Mtt. 24 v 36.
It therefore behooves the inhabitants of our nation Nigeria at this season of ember months to seek the face of the Lord and be humbled that God owns and rules this world (including everything in it). The earlier we acknowledge this the better and then the ember months will no longer be a terror but a season of prayer and sober reflection. We think deeply about whom God is, what He has done, what He is doing, for what He will continue to do at all times and in all situations even at ember months. As we begin the journey of this year’s ember months by faith, I sincerely wish everybody God’s favour and His abundant blessings.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,