THE GATHERING OF THE KINSMEN
Written by: Lucy Esisi
I read an excerpt from one of Chinua Achebe’s writings:
“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to redeem them from starving. They all have food in their own houses. When we gather together in the moonlight village ground, it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound.
We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so. Therefore let us continue with the team spirit and enjoy the power of togetherness”.
So what has this got to do with Church, you might be wondering. The truth is, not a whole lot, but the composition got me thinking about the gathering of the local assembly of believers aka ‘The Church’. Why do we gather anyway? Is there any reason why we must?
I’ve heard people say (and if I’m completely honest, I have too at some stage):
- I don’t go to church any more, after all the church is not a building: WE are the church!
- The churches are all about money, money and more money.
- Church A is ‘not worded’ enough, Church B is too small or too big, Church C is too local or too elitist.
- I’m tired of church drama and politics abeg! I’ll just pray on my own.
The list is endless. Some of these reasons are relatively cogent based on our experiences, others… not so much.
There are bound to be differences in a gathering of people with different personalities and gifts, even among siblings, who came out of the same womb and have the same upbringing, the differences in personalities are evident. How much more a gathering of people from diverse backgrounds, regardless of the uniformity of purpose i.e. the worship of our heavenly Father. This diversity, though, is the beauty of it all.
In Romans 12:4-5, Apostle Paul says: “As in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same functions so we, though many, are one in Christ, and individually, members one of another”.
I Corinthians 12 also helps us see that as members of this one body, we have our divergent roles, which are essential to the healthy function of the body. Through each of us, God is enriching and growing His body “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God…. Ephesians 4:13.
Like Achebe’s composition, you are not coming to ‘Church’ because-
- That’s where the word of God is, No! It’s in the Bible.
- You’re not coming to church because that’s the house of God, No! He resides in our hearts and He’s with us at all times.
We come together because our heavenly father requires it of us – Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) – “Not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”.
Look at it this way; We are the Church, representatives of Christ in our everyday living- at work, in school, while transacting business etc. The Bible enjoins us in Mathew 6:6 “to worship and pray privately”, yes, but just like our regular lives where we go about our activities individually, there is also an avenue to gather and take stock of the day, week, month etc.
The local assembly is like the Stock-taking meeting I spoke about, where we as committee members/board members/shareholders gather to evaluate, show appreciation, consolidate and commend etc. The local assembly is the place where we gather to thank our Father, extol His name for what He has done so far and what He is about to do, to present our token in thanksgiving, to revel in His glory. The corporate anointing is a deeper, fuller expression and experience than that which, the solo can provide. Mathew 18:20 reminds us that where two or three are gathered in God’s name, He is in their midst.
So the next time you think to yourself “I know God for myself”, “I hear Him, “I am the Church” etc., do remember Hebrews 10:25.
Find that local assembly that will draw you closer to God in the place of praise and worship than where you are now, build your faith and unlock the gifting within as well as help you move from one level of anointing to the next.
That assembly does exist, and is waiting for you to join your faith and voice to theirs to give glory to our heavenly Father who is more than worthy.