The last three Church Chronicles didn’t cause trouble like some others. I remember ‘Aunty Feminist Goes to Church” doing a number of things to readers. ‘Drip Drip’ was breezy and light, Through your eyes was one story that sought to capture different lives that could be seen from different angles.
Sabbath took into account a few things about the body of Christ, just like the other Church Chronicles did, howbeit superficial aspects. It mentioned none of those things such as the body of Christ being the Bride of Christ that Christ loves so much. Neither was it interested in the reason why Sabbath was not on Sunday as opposed to Saturday (the traditional Jewish Sabbath), the day of the week that a particular set of believers argue is the right day to worship God. Delving into that would only have rubbished the motive with which it was published. The title was quite ambiguous and did not directly promise to address something. No, it only focused on the different expressions of ‘Church’ in Nigeria and the people that made up the church.
Sabbath means rest. It can also mean to be still. It also means pausing to take stock of past events and re-strategize the next actions to take. A period of rest allows one to re-gather expended energy so the next actions can be done with new vigour.
Sabbath was beautifully inspired by a music album by Limoblaze, “Sunday in Lagos”. Lagos is a busy place. Although I’m not writing from Lagos, Nigeria, Lagos can still be said to be the poster child for busy cities in Nigeria. Known for its hold-ups, a lot of people rush from place to place to meet deadlines, get to their place of work, and make money through honest and dishonest means. There is pressure to just keep moving, whether you’re in the right direction or not.
The Need for Sabbath in Nigeria
The same applies to life, whether you’re staying in Lagos or not. Then, there’s the fact that you are a Christian who goes to church probably more than twice a week. In the bustling and hustling of life, whether you like it or not, to keep yourself grounded in Christ and keep your faith alive, you attend Church with fellow believers. For those few hours, even your phone is having a compulsory Sabbath (well, that’s if you still take church notes with pen and paper) While your spirit is getting renewed alongside other believers after a long week of work.
Nevertheless, CEOs from Monday to Saturday show off their anointed riffs and runs at the choir stand. The honourable commissioner is busy showing people where to park their cars outside the church as he is in the security unit. The lecturer is a teacher at a young and energetic teenage church. People drop their authority and their ability to bark out orders and just cast their crowns.Sabbath | church chronicles 5
The Old Testament Sabbath
Just like the Old Testament contains laws that forbade the Israelites from eating some animals that were considered unclean e.g. Pork. Now, health professionals can tell you what is wrong with consuming pork from a pig that was not properly raised for consumption. Just like that, there was a law of keeping the Sabbath holy. The Sabbath day ensured that the Israelites rested even while they travelled far in the wilderness. In days like that with no internet, gadgets that served more to the purpose of distraction than for their intrinsic purposes, it was easier to devote that restful period to God, doing only what was pleasing to God.
In Christianity, it is generally understood that with the coming of Jesus and the establishment of the New Covenant, some aspects of the Old Testament law were fulfilled or superseded. Jesus’ teachings often emphasized love, compassion, and the importance of faith over strict adherence to religious laws. For example, in the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as challenging some of the traditional interpretations of the Sabbath law by healing people on the Sabbath and explaining that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).
Expressions of ‘church’ in Nigeria and the people that made up the church.
Look around the area you’re staying in Nigeria and you’re bound to find different kinds of ‘Church’ with different ways of doing things. They can be broadly divided into Orthodox and Pentecostal. From the Orthodox side, you can find the Anglican, Methodist, Catholic etc. and the Pentecostal side has a sea of churches, both denominational and interdenominational. Most ‘Mega Churches’ in Nigeria fall into this category. In no particular order, the most popular mega-churches are Living Faith Church Worldwide aka Winners Chapel, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Deeper Life Christian Ministry, Christ Embassy, The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement, Celebration Church International, etc.
This is a long list I barely tried to do justice to. If you’re Nigerian, you might be able to tell some differences between the people who attend these churches even if there are a lot of similarities. For this reason, it would be a case of a fish outside the water if you tried removing someone from a church into another. It is not impossible though, especially through marriage where the bride ends up attending her husband’s church in most cases. Such people end up adapting to the new doctrines, teachings and the differences between a former and new church.
Interdenominational churches also make this easier these days. It is easy to find members of Christian denominations like the Cherubim and Seraphim (C & S) and The Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) which are considered ‘White garment’ churches in interdenominational gatherings. In these gatherings, the negative perspective of some people towards these white garment churches which are even different from one another disappears.
The mighty stone cathedral graces selfies and group photos of different age groups. The rented empty hall does not do less. In fact, the overflow is no longer surprising. The ‘pako‘ church is a gathering of believers too, and it is no less than the tarpaulin church or the parlour church that tells of the humble beginnings of many ministries.sabbath | church chronicles 5
So, on a Sunday, different kinds of people who have been indoctrinated into different kinds of church, from different classes, tribe go to worship God. In a way, it can be said that we are still keeping the Sabbath, despite the next day being a Monday.
A rather long story on Perspectives. 953 words tried to do justice to the different lenses we use to view things, even in the church. Most times, life situations are usually more than meets the eye. Appearances are usually deceiving and we humans usually make our judgements based on what our eyes interpret to us. A big smile, nice clothes and a charming personality look like a life put together on first impression.
But, if we walked a mile in such a person’s shoes, such a person might be trembling with fear of the future or insecurity. If we decided to be compassionate like Jesus, we would not rely on what we see with our eyes, or heard with our ears from third parties, and really desire to get to understand people and help them as much as we can.
I cringed when I read the story again. Was I disoriented or something? Maybe I was excited about something. That’s not the usual language or progression I’d use while writing a story. It looked like a story a fourteen-year-old would write for a friend to have a quick read. Don’t laugh at me, at least it passed its message, and it was written with a free mind, hoping to write something that felt like a fresh breeze. I’m including this because it will help me feel better, knowing you will read again, Drip Drip, a story I can’t unpublish. Even the title is…well, to God be the Glory.
‘Drip Drip’ could be mistaken for mindless chatter between two friends on their way to church, A Joint Fellowship that had people from different denominations of churches come together to worship one God. A Bible verse came to mind;
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!”Psalm 133: 1
Church Denominations can be brothers
We might be different in several ways, but we can cast our differences aside and come to worship God together under one roof.
You might not agree with this, but the story also mentions how the Church is not usually the Building you go to worship. It is in the Bible. Interpreted in other ways, it might mean having interactions with other Christians in different places other than the church. You meet a coursemate in your class, and you end up baring your minds to one another, sharing burdens, asking someone who is your ‘brother’ questions about your faith and gaining insights and understanding.
The story encourages us to see every interaction with a Christian as an opportunity to experience church. While you want to live in this world that is under the influence of the god of this world, unharmed and try to invite unbelievers into the system of adoption into God’s family, you can’t be in ‘church’ 24/7. But there are believers around you. Take advantage of that. You can even get to understand some of the doctrines they practice. Of course, you don’t have to practice them if you’re not comfortable or convicted to, but at least, you won’t be one of those bearing rumours around based on ignorance. If there is one thing that Drip Drip tried to be centred on, it is that of the Unity of the Body of Christ.