LUSAKA Catholic Archbishop Alick Banda has challenged Zambians to be strong and courageous in times of trouble.
In his Lent message, Archbishop Banda reminded people to look up to God who has brought them this far.
Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, alms giving, and denial of ego.
This event is observed in the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, and Reformed churches.
“It’s easy to be fearful when things seem not to be going well or when we are faced with challenges and conflicts abound in our midst. This is true especially when challenges become deafening such as organised crime, subversive conspiracies, economic downturn and spiral adverse effects of climate change,” he said yesterday.
“In the midst of these struggles God calls as: ‘Be still and know that I am God’. He cautions us not to be overwhelmed or apprehensive, for fear is irrational. Irrational enough to be petty. Irrational to become so suspicious with everyone and everything.”
Archbishop Banda said where there was fear people resorted to perpetuating falsehood and hatred.
“It is irrational to insinuate falsehood and innuendoes. Irrational to destroy other people’s lives, their dignity, their integrity and their property – both private and public,” he said.
“Because of fear we perpetuate falsehood and hatred. Because of fear we become obsessed with manipulating information to suit our interests to win public sympathy. Because of fear we cease to perceive our deception and tell lies with sincerity. Worse still, we pride in the misfortune of others, our neighbour, our community, and indeed our nation for monetary and political gain. Many a time we support wrong and uncouth tendencies for ulterior motives. That is not right – it is evil.”
Archbishop Banda said the season of Lent offered people an opportunity to sieve what they listened to.
He said in times of trouble the pressure to embrace fear was great.
“This Season is a time of grace in which God offers us an opportunity to develop the sensitivity that helps us to listen to the inner voice – the voice of God within us – which calls us to repentance (to do good and avoid evil). The pressure to embrace fear is great,” Archbishop Banda warned.
“However, our refuge in God is even greater. Against all odds, we are His beloved children and His favour rests on us (Mt. 3:17). Therefore, when life begins to crumble and we find ourselves drowning in a sea of circumstances; when the world is spinning and the noise is deafening, we should never lose heart but remember that God is our refuge and our strength, and our present help in times of distress. We should not fear nor despair (Psalm 46:1-2).”
He however warned that calmness does not come without challenges.
“This calmness that God commands does not come from a lack of challenges but it is derived from an immense thoughtfulness in the ways that God has intervened in history on behalf of His people (Romans 15:4),” said Archbishop Banda.’
“Therefore, be calm because of what you know about God. The God who has seen you this far will surely see you through in what seem insurmountable.”