By Adebayo Okeowo:
It's not meant to be like this
It all feels like we are playing out a script
In as much as God is a God of order, nonetheless God should not and CANNOT be fixed into a box.
Our churches lack power these days because we have, through our minds, boxed God in.
In the Orthodox Church I recently attended with my grandma, if sneezing was not itemized on the programme, things will go wrong should someone suddenly sneeze. Such an unscripted act will probably cause the service leader or preacher to stop talking and the whole congregation will gasp at such audacity to sneeze when it wasn't sneezing time.
Well, that may have been a tad exaggerated but I'm sure you catch my drift.
It is bad enough that most of us have turned Sunday worship service into a roll call, a routine or a chore. To further complicate matters, we get to church and recite the same liturgy just like last Sunday, and as a matter of fact, just like the 23rd Sunday service of the year 1991. Maybe that is why some have actually turned it into a 'To-Do' affair because they are not gaining fresh inspiration. The God I know is unpredictable. Even though He is unchanging and is consistently constant, He still is unfathomable. Hence if you are seeking to find Him in predictable circumstances – yes you may find Him there (since He has promised to be where two or three are gathered in His name). But you may not find His manifest presence (yes! There is a difference). I am not launching an attack on church traditions because I am sure someone is already rolling his/her eyes and saying; Don't we repeat the Grace every Sunday?
Yes, we are meant to preserve the ancient landmarks. However, in our bid to be heavenly conscious, we must remain earthly relevant too! And the church is the place where the spirits of just men are made perfect! So shouldn't there be a heavy dose of godly inspiration and edification? Have you observed God's creation recently? He just totally shows off His creative abilities through everything: the birds, the clouds, the herbivores and carnivores, and especially YOU! God is exciting, why should YOU then bore me?!
Well, back to my experience in grandma's Cathedral. After looking through the church programme for the service, I was glad that there was at least the sermon! But guess what! Sermon time became the time when most heads were drooling, mouths yawning, eyelashes batting and so on. The devil must be catching a lot of thrills hanging over people's shoulders and pulling their eyelids shut! Or wasn't it the devil causing them to sleep at such a critical time? Who is responsible for binding and rebuking such devils? Then I ask myself, when exactly will these people get that word or blessing for that day? What did they come to church for really? Is this the constant routine in this place? Not sure I have the answers.
I have been sent to a House and it certainly wasn't this. However, let every shepherd be guided by the Spirit of God, and let every worshipper seek God in spirit and truth. As long as it's God's house, there is a blessing for someone there!
Lest the 21st century Christian be excited that he does not attend a church with a stiff routine, hold your horses! The Pentecostals are guilty of so many things. Some have taken their sophistication to a point that they can't even bend their knees in worship. But that will certainly be for another day when the title will probably read THE EDIFICE.
Here is my challenge to you, the next time you pass through your church doors, remember you are approaching Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels. You have come to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, to God the judge of all and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant whose blood speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.
Think again, you don't want to be sleeping or be found flippant in the presence of His Majesty – the Almighty God Himself! Do you?