I love hymns. It is hard to speak of my love for hymns without talking about my shared love for them with my lovely mother. My mother and I together with my siblings used to listen to Canon Godfrey Njagala’s show on Star Radio. From the onset, Sunday worship started with Luganda hymns in the morning before the church service. Cassette tapes of Eschatos brides littered our house and form part of my childhood memories. Hymns marry angelic voices with rich words.
Hymns remind me of my dear late grandmother with whom I shared a deep connection. I remember her singing most of the Luganda hymns in the hymnal off her head and then my auntie calling on the radio to dedicate a hymn to her. My love for hymns did not depart from me as I grew older. It just grew deeper and wider as I learnt more songs and encountered new choirs.
As I write this article I am thinking of one of Prince Phillip’s favourite hymns, I Vow To Thee My Country. This hymn has been sung at so many notable events in the United Kingdom and around the world including the funerals of several dignitaries like Prince Phillip, the legendary Sir Winston Churchill and the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher.
In my opinion, this hymn summarises a Christian’s duty and love to his nation and to the Kingdom of God. This famous hymn’s first verse invokes the Christian’s attitude toward their nation and the second verse speaks of their knowledge of the Kingdom of God.
Uganda is considered a Christian country because the majority of its citizens identify as Christians. Churches are littered on every corner and our streets are besieged by preachers yet we suffer from corruption and injustices continue to abound. The current regime’s idea of using “Balokole” to fight crime and corruption in the Uganda Revenue Authority was met with unprecedented failure.
The idea that those that are accused of corruption are given front-row seats in churches does not inspire any form of confidence in the direction that the church is taking in the fight for a better Uganda.
Uganda does not need a theocracy, but for its believers to stand out and do what is required of them by God. There are primarily three things I always remember when I think about the state of my country, its Christian population and the ideals espoused in that hymn above.
Don’t just seek justice, do it!
The first is that the call to being a follower of God is also a call to seek justice. The call is not only to seek justice but to do justice. The Prophet Micah is instructive in Micah 6:8 on what God requires of his believers and what he considers to be good. The call is for us as believers to do justice and love kindness.
Justice is owed to every man because everyone was created in the image of God and as such carries equal intrinsic worth. The example of Jesus throughout the new testament as a lover of right living, honesty and truth should mould our view of our interaction with the world. The same voices employed to shout the glory of the Lord on the streets should be used to scream and cause awareness over any injustices that we witness.
Love one another
Secondly, the Christian love with which we are called to aspire to by the Apostle Paul. The Christian life is summarized in the love for the Godhead and the love for our neighbours.
The virtue of love as per the Letter to the Church in Corinth calls for us to practice love as it is the greatest quality that we as believers can have. Let the witness of God be noticed through our acts towards the property in our custody, to those that we serve and we work with.
Does the love of God abide in us if we continue to squander state resources? What nature of love are we manifesting if we elect to look away as women’s bodies are violated and those who are called to shepherd the flock of God continue to devour them?
Reposition your vision
Finally, our eschatological beliefs should inform how we walk on earth. The gospel writer advises all believers not to store up treasures for themselves on earth, but to instead keep them in heaven. We should constantly be reminded that the earth is not our home and that we are ambassadors for another country.
Therefore, as ambassadors of another country, we should live a life that represents our home country in glory. Losing sight of the greater picture has led many astray. The choice is to either worship our Lord and look at the things to come or to get lost in pursuing the earthly.
The highest form of service you can offer for your country as a believer is to love it and to worship your God your Lord. As we continue to vow service to our country may we be reminded of the nature of love that our countries expect from us, “The love that asks no questions, the love that stands the test, that lays upon the altar, the dearest and the best..”
Author: Emmanuel Luwaga
Emmanuel Luwaga is a lawyer, passionate writer, debate coach and adjudicator.