Friday, August 21, 2015

The Thousand Jesus Mountain

Certify this hill holy!

I have been to many holy sites, the Hanging Temple in Datong China or China’s holiest mountain top Mount Tai in Shandong Taian, but I have never seen holy at the level of this small-time mound on the south end of Blantyre urban.
The New Jerusalem - a Temple up Soche Hill

I was not sure of going up the hill, I was not sure it was safe, I had to hide my camera in a black bag and kept looking over my shoulder as I started to hike. I was wrong.

The hill was filled with men women and children, mostly women. All of them were in the hill to placate or praise God via Jesus. I am sure there was no Muslim there.

Everywhere I looked, I saw a person or a group of people. They were singing, dancing, pacing to and fro while swinging their arms, shouting and invoking the Holy Spirit.

Bush fires have ravaged most parts of the hill and as I meandered through the ashy paths and heard one woman shout “Fire! Holy Ghost Fire!” I wondered if it was this holy fire that was scorching the flora on the hillsides.

I went there to hike
I saw a trio of guys holding hands and praying, then break into song, then kneel in incessant prayer… as a non-believer, I was outnumbered a thousand to one at Soche hill.

One guy was on the very top, walking to and fro, appearing briefly on the cliff from where I stood below, as much as I knew he was only praying, it looked as if he was some suicidal guy gathering momentum and courage before leaping to his demise.

I saw a tent, with some youths singing joyously near it. I saw a cave with women peeping from the dark hole and a pastor dishing out the word on the mouth.

I saw a cross enclosed in a stone hedge, like a site from a movie set in ancient Israel. I saw someone cooking and another washing dishes by a spring, again I wondered if it was these fires that were to blame for the fires that plaque the hill.

I saw verses and Biblical terms scrawled on rock faces, ‘Shalomo,’ shouted one line, obviously greeting me the way an Israeli would, without the “o.”

Jehova, Shalom, El Shadai and Jehova Shama, I believe
As I knelt by the spring to tap from the indisputably clean water, a woman offered me a cup from her stack of dishes, I refused her offer but could hear the holiness in her offer, everything in this hill was like a huge Christian camp full of what Adventists would call ‘Philadephia.’

Not all was Philadelphia, every grouping represented a particular grouping, on one mass Sermon on the Mount. There were like ten groups visible to me from where I stood observing.

I went hiking for fitness reasons, seeing as how rare it is to find a playground to play on around the residential areas, instead, I discovered one of the rarest phenomenon I never expected to find here in Malawi a country that was unware of Jesus at the start of the 1900s.

I visited this hill around 2pm on a Tuesday. Do these people have jobs? Or do they go to school, these youths? I kept thinking. Are they here following some serious tragedies in their lives or is this all SOP in their Christian lives?

I felt evil, I have never pursued faith this seriously, and maybe it is why I lost it. Now I believe in Bandwidths and theories of old white men. Sigh.

I did not disrupt anyone, I kept my distance, I used my full zoom to take my pictures but I came close to one group.

You add the Caption...they are in deep prayer
The pastor was shouting ‘this water is holy!’ while sprinkling it on some hypnotized women. I watched with keen interest, the pastor told the women that they were free. They broke into song and after a while one woman told the pastor about her brother who was not coming home.

I did not stick around to hear how he helped this woman, would prayer really bring back a guy who has gone rogue on a drinking spree?  Or maybe the best way is just to wait till they get broke like the prodigal son did in the Bible?

And it is not just Jesus that is the darling of the hill, Rastafarians from the city also occasionally congregate here. Which gives me another idea as to what causes bush fires, you catch my drift? 

I was at the foot of the hill and just before I exited the bush into the neighborhoods, the woman in front of me stopped and issued a final prayer, I stopped in their midst and joined them in prayer.

I was dirty from the sooty bushes and the dusty paths, I looked down on my feet and I did not look like someone who was n holy ground. Maybe, like Moses, I need to take off my shoes next time.

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