Unity in Adversity: The Gospel of Solidarity to Nigerian Christians in Houston, Texas
Chinwendu, Ohizu Julian
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
In embracing Christianity, the Igbo person carried this character of communal love and solidarity into Christianity. It was blended with the Christian commandment on agape love. It was in the Eucharist that they fully found the true meaning of love as they gather daily to partake in the Holy Eucharist. They did not question the demands of this new religion since they already had a glimpse of what it means to love. This was the source of their strength as they lived in hope for the coming of Jesus Christ. As I migrated to the United States, I carried along this sense of togetherness. Mere observation and the experience of some other people whom I encountered clearly explained to me that there is a missing link between the Igbo person at home and the new person in a foreign land. What has gone wrong? I began to question. Stories abound of situations where brothers have abandoned their fellow brothers or sisters in the name of Westernization. The consciousness of togetherness and solidarity has become a thing of the past. People who were victims of this kind of situation became either frustrated or forced to leave the United States? It was sad indeed. Has the Igbo person forgotten what it means to be on a journey? Have they forgotten how a visitor is welcomed in the Igbo traditional setting? I know that as one moves over to a foreign land, there would be challenges. But it is hoped that those who are stronger or older in the situation or those who are richer would help those who are weak to get sustained and balanced. This is practical Christian life. Biblical teachings admonished those who are stronger in the Lord to assist those who are weak (Gal. 6:1-2). So that at the end every person would rejoice in the salvation of all. The situation having gone out of hand, it is required that a sincere approach be taken to correct the mistakes of the past. I think now is the appropriate time for that correction. Many people have gone through agony that if we continue to keep quiet, the Lord might ask us questions on the last day. Then what must be done? The consultations I had with people reinforced that my observation is true. The steps [ took bore many fruits. The Nigerian Christian community was helpful in trying to find a way through which this issue would be addressed. I was given an opportunity to carry out the pastoral project with their support. They agreed that there would be a rebuilding process. I think this pastoral project would be very fruitful in trying to restore this character of solidarity in the life of Nigerian Christians in the United States. In as much as it was a one man’s initiative, the community agreed that it would be a collective effort of every committed member of the group. I think that this attitude is a very good sign that the project will be appreciated at the end.