I recently got back from leave and my welcome message was a letter stating I was going to be transferred to Iran; my company is building a team to set up a branch there. You have no idea how I felt. A million and one questions ran through my mind but there were two that lingered on – family and church. I don’t have the perfect family but when all our differences are brought to the table, you’ll never have a dull moment. I’ve grown to appreciate the gift of family by having each of them in my life. Guaranteed I’m not in the same location with them but a journey of one hour by air or eight hours by road can get me to them. Iran is 3318 miles from Nigeria and will take approximately 7 hrs. by air.
Church is definitely important to me and I’ve grown so used to my church, the mere thought of changing location freaks me out not to talk of a country where the Christian faith is threatened. While I was engrossed in this thought a question I had asked someone in the past popped up in my head and I’ll ask you the same question, if you are transferred to another location and there’s no church I’m not saying a branch of your local church I mean no church at all, how long will you last as a Christian?
Few weeks ago Social Media was flooded with the story of a Pastor who had an affair with a lady, a whole lot was said, some became virtual soldiers for the pastor, and some took to name-calling of the lady while others pledged their support for the lady for the bold step she took. In all of this we forget it’s really not about a particular church rather the entire Christian community. We have become so religious that we are gradually losing the essence of Jesus’ death on the cross. We should have all (Christians) covered our heads with ash and put on sack-cloth to cry that such a thing was mentioned in church; do we love church more than God? I was in a leadership meeting in church, our Senior Pastor called out all the Pastors of the branches and asked anyone to indicate, if there had been any sexual relationship with any of them, while some people found it funny my heart bled. These are men and women who have been anointed to lead God’s sheep and we are having integrity issues. What spirit are they passing onto us when they stand on the pulpit to minister?
I learnt something and I hope to apply it in Iran. Beyond the lifting up of hands to a good choir rendition or shouting halleluiah or amen to the pastor’s sermon; we need to know God for ourselves. When Paul and Silas were in jail they had church there, they knew God was limitless, boundless and existed everywhere at the same time. Granted the believers were praying for them but they still called out to God. A pastor in my local church said “In the Anglican church, we have the Liturgy to guide public prayer but in our closet there’s no Liturgy rather we are to pour out our lives to Him” and another pastor said “Our leadership is not to take advantage but to give advantage”.
A few questions are going through my mind and I’ll share it with you:-
• After Sunday service is my behavior consistent throughout the week?
• Can I have worship in my room when the choir isn’t singing?
• Can I open my Bible on my own without a Pastor?
• Can I have fellowship with God alone without a gathering?
• Who does God mean to me and not just the God of my Pastor or Church but I mean a personal encounter?
• If I don’t have a Christian sticker on my car, carry a family-sized Bible can anyone tell I’m a Christian?
• How often have I discriminated other churches because their order of service was different from mine?
Truth is we have played church for too long and it’s time to come back to our first Love Jesus Christ who first loved us in our sinful nature. Let us arise in unity and stand for the gospel of love Jesus preached. At the end of this world I’m not standing before God as a church member rather as an individual.
LOADS OF LOVE
N/B The story of going to Iran was inspired by some random thoughts of Church and Relocating; not to worry I’m still with you
Photo courtesy : Truthforlife.org