“Shall we rise to our feet even as the praise and worship team steps forward to lead us into a time of worship.” The officiant, in her flowing and resplendent African garments turned from the pulpit and walked to her seat as a band of seven men and women walked in front of the congregation.
“Great is our God. Great is his faithfulness. Great is his love towards us and so, bless the Lord o my soul. Bless…his holy name.” The worship leader uttered these words solemnly, with his eyes closed and his left hand lifted up.
“Mmmmm…yes, Lord!” A member of the congregation agreed in a shaky voice as she clapped her hands. “Ah, ah, you are God. Yes, Lord…”
For the next five minutes, the whole church was quiet. Among the various postures, some members of the congregation had their hands in the air while others knelt down. Some had their clasped hands at varying distances from their lips. Still others, were lying face down on the ground. Everyone was silent before the throne of God.
“Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord, my father. There is no shadow of turning with thee. You never change, your compassion, they fail not. As thou hast been thou, forever wilt be. Oh…” The worship leader broke the silence, singing the hymn at a lower tempo than usual and the congregation quickly picked up as he sang the chorus. “Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed thy hands hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.” The hymn was repeated again.
The pastor stood with his two hands lifted up halfway, palms cupped as though he was receiving from the Lord. His face shone with his warm smile.
Upstairs, grandma Lizzy remained in her seat in a pensive mood, with her legs crossed as she swayed from left to right. The gentleman, possibly in his late thirties, who always sat beside his wife on the same row every Sunday sang passionately with clenched fists in the air. His wife had her arms crossed in front of her, her head slumped to her chest and her lips moving as she sang very quietly.
As for him, the young worshiper, he did not have a specific seat but He always sat somewhere close to the couple. Today, he sat in front of the couple and their two toddlers: the younger one, with one eye closed and the other eye focused on the father, she mimicked him and the older one sat in her chair drawing doodles in her tiny notepad.
He had the desire to worship God. Who wouldn’t in such an environment but he found himself observing others instead. The young man sitting next to him also just stood there. He had his arms folded as he stood at ease and stared blankly at the worship team leading the church.
“Hmm, he thinks he’s a guy, eh?,” he thought. “But what he dey figure, ebi God he dey wan rosh? (What does he think? Does he intend to show off before God?)” He quietly shook his head.
“…and you’re doing what exactly?” The voice came from within. It sure was not the Holy Spirit so it had to be his conscience.
“Herh, ger rara hee! I’m in no mode for an argument.”
“Hmmm! You should be worshiping your God instead of looking at people.”
He simply ignored his conscience since he did not want to feel guilty.
“Ah! God dier, he’s faithful o. Left to me alone, you would have been dead by now.” His reasoning took over.
“Herh, reason. You too? If you’re not on my side, vamoose!”
His reason snickered, “You know you can easily ask for forgiveness, right? God is faithful.”
“Yes, but I feel like I am abusing God bi saa,”
“Excuse me? Like you actually can…” His reason made a face.
“Look Reason, I refuse to see reason, ok?” He smiled when he realized the word play. “So get out of here.”
“This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Saviour, all the day long,” the worship leader changed the hymn to another insightful favorite and the congregation quickly joined in. “This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Saviour, all the day long.”
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine…” He could hear the distinct squeaky voice of the usher sitting three rows behind him singing along with the church.
He sighed. It was not like he did not want to worship God along with the congregation. It was just that his guilt, the bouncer, would not allow him to enter the throne room of God. Thankfully, it seemed like Satan did not come to church today; he would have made matters worse.
He turned to look at the couple again. They must really be in God’s good books to be so much in tune with God. The look on their faces was out of this world. Their younger child was now looking at him intently. No, he would not be a bad example to this pure, innocent soul. Facing the pulpit again, he closed his eyes and tried to sing along. He even tried to raise his hand just to go along with the motion.
Finally, here was some motivation. Maybe he would soon be caught up in the spirit of worship too. So much for the struggle.
A deep voice cleared the throat from behind him, stopping him in his tracks, “Not so fast, son of Adam!” He could feel the accompanying mischievous smile.
“Argh!” He almost slapped his forehead. “Speak of the devil!”
To be continued…tomorrow @0600hrs GMT
2017 Ministry of Reconciliation Blog