Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Memorial Service

The Memorial Service

It was Friday August 25th 2012, and Sara and I were attending the Memorial Service for Nyamasoyaurus, the last of the Mad Mighty Dinosaurs, who had dropped dead the day after the election, exactly one year earlier.

‘We are gathered here today,’ intoned the priest, ‘to honour the memory and life of Nyamasoyaurus, the Great Dinosaur who managed to get rid of the dreaded MMD that had been ravaging this country for the previous twenty years.’

I looked round the church, which was packed, with people even standing in the aisles. The front three rows were filled with Nyamasoyaurus’s many widows and former mistresses, all dressed in somber black, except of course for the Swazi girls, who sat there completely naked, according to their tradition.

‘As I look around this Cathedral of the Very Cross today,’ the priest continued, ‘I see a great multitude of people. Any yet, when I officiated at Nyamasoyaurus’s funeral only a year ago, this great cathedral stood empty, except for the six men from the undertakers who were employed to carry the coffin.

‘I remember looking around the empty church and asking the empty pews whether such a man, so despised and abandoned, could ever reach the Kingdom of Heaven. Seeking the answer to this question, I read from the Gospel according to John, Chapter 14 Verses 1-2, where Jesus advises Simon Peter on the difficulty of getting into heaven…

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you so. I go to prepare a place for you.

‘Of course, we all thought at that time that Nyamasoyaurus was a sinner who would go to hell. But we now know that the Lord found a mansion for Nyamasoyaurus. Because the Lord knew, as we did not know, that Nyamasoyaurus sinned not for himself, but he sinned for us, that we might enter the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.’

The huge congregation murmured in approval.

‘The Lord in his wisdom realized that Nyamasoyaurus’s chosen life work was to enable us to rid ourselves of the dreaded MMD. But he also knew the weakness of the people of the Land of Zed, who had been brought up to respect authority and to believe that their leaders were working for the people.

‘And the people were easily deceived, because the Dubious Kafupi and Monstrous Muwelewele always talked very fair about good governance, and did their sinning in secret.

‘And so Nyamasoyaurus conceived a great plan to save the people from their tormentors. Upon the untimely death of the Monstrous Muwelewele, Nyamasoyaurus stepped forward and declared that he was the only one to continue the legacy of the Great Departed, because he was the most ancient of the dinosaurs, and therefore the only one to lead the Mighty Mad Dinosaurs, the dreaded MMD.

‘And the new Great Leader Nyamasoyaurus continued to speak continually of good governance. But he dropped the policy of sinning in secret. Instead he openly instructed the judges to find the guilty innocent and the innocent guilty. He set up the palace as the contract centre for all public works, and took ten percent. He boasted that he was taxing the people to raise money to subsidise rich business men. He increased unemployment and reduced wages until people were destitute, while all the time boasting that their predicament would attract investors.

‘But very few people complained, and most continued as usual, saying the government must know what it is doing. So now he went further, borrowing vast amounts of money for huge hospitals which were left empty because there were no doctors or nurses, and building huge schools where there were no teachers, because he adamantly refused to pay them.

‘But his plans to destroy the reputation of the MMD did not work. People just said He means well, he’s just a bit stupid. Only a few people protested. So next he sent the police to shoot these few protesters. Now there was more discontent, but the results were still very disappointing.

‘Then, at last, the Church took an interest, and castigated the MMD for leaving the poor to starve to death. Now Nyamasoyaurus saw his big chance. He cursed the entire Church for plotting against the state, denouncing cardinals and bishops as Satanists, witches, homosexuals and perverts. He waged unrelenting war on Mother Church, swearing to kill her.

‘Now the people were really annoyed, for the Church had always protected them from parasitic leaders. They finally realized that the MMD was nothing more than a gang of criminals who had captured the state. So they threw them out at the next election, and elected St Michael as their next Great Leader.

‘Nyamasoyaurus died immediately afterwards. His great work was now complete. He died alone and unappreciated, for the people hadn’t realized that he died for them.

‘And now, to conclue this Memorial Service, we shall sing Hymn No.338, sung to the tune of The Church’s One Foundation.’

The congregation rose to their feet, and lifted the roof with this rousing hymn…

The Church’s one destruction

Was Nyamasoya Lord;

She must support election

By fire and by sword;

From hell he came and sought her

For his unholy bride,

With her own blood he killed her,

And for his life she died.

Mid strife of the election,

And tumult more like war,

She arose by resurrection

And faith for evermore;

With election victory glorious

St Michael proved the best,

And now the Church victorious

Is free like all the rest!

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