Send down the Rain

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

A regular reader of this column sent us a question which needed some clarifications here. His question made us to reconsider the next topic to be treated on this column. As we know, this column is bent on handling issues that challenge our Christian cum Catholic faith. This column is meant to examine the challenges against our faith, and probably, come to some cogent suggestions on the way forward.

Of course, when I thought about his question, the famous 1988 song "Send down the Rain" of Majek Fashek (a.k.a. the Rainmaker) came to my mind. That has informed the caption of this week's reflection. In Nigeria, we have two major seasons: dry and rainy seasons. But we do experience the four seasons that are known across continents: winter, spring, summer and autumn.

During rainy season which cuts across spring, summer and autumn in Nigeria, we always face some challenges over holding open air or social activities. Due to the fact, that we may lack halls, amphitheaters that can accommodate gargantuan crowds, we are always worried about holding such activities at the open. This has resulted into rustic and unscientific methods of weather control to assuage people's worries over weather effects on their open air events.

Because religious expressions are almost like second nature to Africans, cum Igbos, people have always made mountains out of molehills. They have always associated the process of weather control to some spirits or deities. And this is where it becomes challenging for the good Christian who has turned his/her back against fetish, pagan religious practices.

Apart from that, there have been uncountable stories told about these rainmakers who have become prominent by this circumstance of weather control. Often, it is told that these rainmakers have used their proficiency to victimize people who never consulted them before holding their open air events.

In Igbo land, it is like, if you want to hold open air functions - ranging from happy to sorrowful ones, and you did not consult with the rainmakers, and fulfill their, often, obnoxious rituals, then, you should be aware that rain would disrupt your programmes. It is almost like, woe unto you if you never engaged them because they would make it rain cats and dogs on your eventful day. Of course, the obnoxious rituals they ask people to perform are definitely against Christian faith.

Thus, rains during our social events are areas where, more often than not, our faith as Christians is put on the crucible. By so doing, rainmakers in Igbo land mystify rainfalls, and deify this natural phenomenon which is so natural that given certain atmospheric conditions there would be rainfall at a given time. Rainfalls are cloud related meteorological phenomena which are under studied by atmospheric physics.

Rainfalls have nothing to do with spirits unlike what diviners and rainmakers would want us to believe. Rainfalls are natural phenomena. In next week's edition, we will treat how rains form, and what influences such formation that would make the rain to fall. On the final part we shall evaluate what should be a Christian's best approach to rainmaking and rain controls; and then, we consider whether a Christian should go to rainmakers or not.

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