“Does God deserve it..?”
The last few weeks or so I’ve been going through an identity crisis of some sort. It’s not one of those ‘who am I’ exercises teenagers are made to take and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with my recently attaining the age of majority. It’s about religion. Before I proceed I would like to clarify that I believe in God and I would not be an atheist even in my wildest dreams. Never. Never ever. Moving on swiftly.
Nowadays, religion is one of those controversial issues many people avoid arguing about since such altercations hardly end amicably. Everyone has their own beliefs and convictions about how things should be done and about the right way to worship. No wonder there are so many churches already. Whatever the denomination, at least one thing is common for those who profess the Christian faith; the belief in the one true God.., which is something I totally appreciate. Many denominations profess their Faith with the Apostles Creed thus providing a sort of common ground.
So in the past few days I have come across a number of people who last went to a Church in their high school chapel or around February/March, just before KCSE results were announced and/or a while after when they went to give thanks. No kidding. And I’m sure if we bothered to know we’d find that quite many people do not see sense in going to Church. If asked why, they give a myriad of reasons. Some do not find the need to because they can pray and worship from the comfort of their homes. What with E-Church where church services are broadcasted live and one can ‘attend’ the service even whilst in bed?! Others are discouraged by the hypocrisy that has been portrayed by clergy especially in recent times. They believe that they would rather read and interpret the Bible on their own than have it done by someone who does not even uphold the dignity that comes with the work of God. Talk of preaching water and drinking wine. Maybe it feels like listening to someone lie to you but you still believe them or someone who will a while later stab your back. Though some Churches have strict training programs for their clergy, it is sad that there are still many wolves in sheep clothing. Many more Churches are being established by individuals of questionable character and thus making otherwise faithful Church goers have reason to justify their foregoing Church.
Many other people don’t go to Church because they don’t feel like it. It could be because they value their sleep more or they just don’t find it important. A few others blame the early church services. For those in this category, they conveniently oversleep so they feel that their not going to Church was totally not their fault or that it was bound to happen. Sleep takes the blame. It makes me tend to think that it’s human to want to find excuses for our faults. Many times we want to blame someone or something so that we’re faultless. Even Adam, the first man blamed his wife for leading him to sin and consequently Eve blamed the serpent. They still got punished so though blaming others may make us feel faultless, it does not take away the guilt of our misdeeds.
Many others argue that God’s love is unconditional..,that He still loves us regardless. True. A few get discouraged when they are faithfuls yet many of their plans don’t succeed yet those who don’t even bother to go to Church are seen to prosper. It happens. However, I think that the reason we have for going to Church largely influences our staying or not. If we go to Church because we expect something in return, what will happen when we do not get what we expected? Are we able to trust in God’s will knowing that it may involve forfeiture/ failure of our own?
At some point in my life I also didn’t find the need to go to Church every Sunday. My excuse was that the Mass my parents attended was too early (7.30am). If I really wanted to attend Mass, I’d have slept a bit more and still be in time for the 10.00am one. I had another excuse though.., that the 10 o’clock Mass was in Swahili and I ‘preferred’ English Masses. I even toyed with the idea of talking to the priest in charge to have the Swahili Mass made English. My parents are very strict about Sunday Mass so it was quite difficult for me to keep up with the not attending Mass habit. Sunday afternoons spent at home were unbearable for the person who failed to honor their Sunday obligation and with time and a few ‘measures’ I resorted to going only to avoid an uncomfortable Sunday. Later on though I found good reason to go. I got a good foundation of the Faith and I was able to go to Mass out of love for God.
Enough about those who don’t go to church for now . There’re a few questions the rest who go to Church should ask ourselves;
So, why do you go to Church on Sabbath? Do you go because your family is going or would you go on your own when everyone else decides not to? Do you only go when you feel like or when it is convenient? When you go, do you make effort to listen, concentrate and try to gain something or do you switch off the moment you feel that it’s boring?
Would you be able to convince a person who doesn’t go to Church into doing it? Really? Do you have a firm foundation for your faith that you would stand strong and attest to your Christianity beyond any reasonable doubt? Do your actions match up with what you profess?
Do you make sincere effort to go to Church? It could mean setting an early alarm, giving special attention to punctuality, making a point to find out which service/where you’re comfortable with, inviting a friend, etc.
Whatever the case, matters of the Faith are really personal matters. Same way you enter high school alone and leave alone is the same way you were born alone and you will die alone. People say that the world will not end soon. It could be true. However, we fail to realise that there’s the general world and YOUR world. Your world could end tomorrow, or the day after while another person’s could end a hundred years from now. When you die now, your world ends and you get to be judged on Your life. Why you did the things you did and why you failed to do others that were required of you. Then, you’ll be answering to God who knows all truth..,so make sure you can be able to give reasonable answers.
Whether you go to Church or not is also a completely personal matter. However, it’s important to think about one thing. Do you think God deserves you to make that extra effort? Yes, you can pray on your own or attend E-church but there was reason why Sabbath was set aside for worship and it is important to observe it through a more profound form of worship. God loves you and you insist that you do the same, right? Then how do you express your love for God? You may not feel the need to do it because he already knows but don’t you think He’s showed His love in so many ways that it would only be just for you to make an effort to do the same? It’s surprising how we have no issue showing our love to those around us but we have great difficulty doing so to the one who deserves it most.
Think about all your blessings and gifts. Think about how ungrateful you have been. When you decide to make an effort to go to church, do it not so much to obtain favors or something in return but for a reason that will always be there.., the fact that God is all good and all loving and He deserves our making an effort to do the things that please Him. Maybe you may still not ‘feel’ the need. However, matters of faith should be beyond just feelings since our feelings tend to change every so often. It should be something that should make you stay even when you feel that clergy are boring because for you, it’s your relationship with God that is at stake and you have a lot to talk to him about while in church. With time, you will find that even the 2 or so hours may not be enough to thank God and discuss the many things in your life.
A few Sundays ago I sat next to an elderly woman during Mass and she really inspired me. Just by looking at her, one could tell that the woman must have been well in her eighties or even older. Her skin was greatly wrinkled and her body frame frail. She looked a bit weak but that did not keep her from giving her best. It was a Swahili Mass and though she may not have been proficient in the language, she was an active participant. She danced to the songs and nodded her head to the rhythm where she did not know the words. From the expression on her face i could tell that she was really having a good time. There was warmth and life in her handshake. It got me thinking if I would still be enthusiastic about Church even at that age. How many of us would? Then, we’ll have a whole lifetime to give thanks for but will we even have the will to go to Church when we were able to?
Hopefully, with time, we will all be able to obtain a more profound Christianity. We will do our prayer, go to Church and do so many other things for God out of LOVE. It’s not easy but it is possible if only we make an effort to think upon these things.
I am not perfect and neither have I been able to do all things for love. I only think it does help to try. Like I said earlier, I am at a crisis because the organization that helped me have more meaning for my faith is under great scrutiny and it is being defamed a lot with some people saying it has cult like activities, to say the least. At least I can explain why I do the many things I do and so it is no loss for me. I have questions too but I know where I can get my answers. Like a friend of mine said, we need to pray for enlightenment so we know if it’s right to continue associating with that organization. I do not doubt the organization at all because there is everything legitimate and Godly about it but again, God knows all and I need His side of the story. Whatever the case, I know the organization has made me a better person in more ways than I can imagine and even my parents could attest to that. In the meantime, join me and the organization as we pray for enlightenment. I choose to call it “the organization” for the sake of those who don’t care but are just curious but I do not mean to offend anyone.
It’s great I have written this post because it has helped clear my view about things. I am now in no crisis whatsoever. 🙂
My question remains;
“Do you think God deserves your making an effort to do your prayer well/ other activities that please Him?”
If Yes, make the effort.
If No, rethink your answer and if possible seek help.