Analysis: DEXTER NJUKA
I HAVE through my daily visitation theologised about Apostle Paul epistle to the church at Ephesus. I have learnt that the magnificence of a cathedral is not in its marble walls or tiled floors but that its building blocks are family units.
By the way, show me a strong, spirit filled church and I will point for you its family units engrossed with such a virtue. I have realised why the Catholic Church remains the most adored church by its parishioners. These priests visit their members. Visitation is not a part time thing. You will see a priest with two or so members accompanying him during visitations. No wonder members bring along a hearty thanks giving offering during mass.
I oversee forty-seven Adventist congregations in Mkushi of which 10 are a stretch further in the Lwano Valley of about 80kms from town. Some of the churches are bordering with those in Congo DRC. There are places that are very impassable during the rainy season and are cut off from my administrative office during the time. Not to mention the telecommunication challenges. These are places where one literally climbs a hill or walks seven kilometres in search of network.
So you can imagine how these parishioners feel when their pastor pays them a visit. These parishioners crave for a pastorâ€™s visit. They would do anything for such a noble visit. I must confess that in the five years I have been a pastor, I have never done it this much. In three weeks I had visited over 140 homes and the impact was thunderous.
But I will spare the experiences and lessons learnt for the next article. What I want to cover is the message I took to each home I visited. As earlier alluded to, Paul must have realised the importance of family as a building block for a strong church. That is why Ephesians 5 and 6 are chapters dotted with family affairs. Paul realised that if a strong family cord existed among families, then a vibrant, militant and consequently a triumphant church would ensue.
On verse 22 of Chapter 5, Paul began by imploring wives by saying, â€œWives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his bodyâ€¦â€ Let me be quick to say that its divine ordination for man to take up his place as head of the house and this cannot be outdated by modern trends.
Just as no Pope, Bishop or Priest can take over the headship of the church from Christ, no woman or child can grab the headship of the house from husband or father. Doing so in either case is anti-Christ. To liquidate the husbandâ€™s portfolio is the same as casting down the very foundation of the church. And a psalmist once inquired (Psalm 11:3), â€œIf the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?â€
So no matter his economic or social status, the husband is the head.
Paul shifted attention to men too. He said, â€œHusbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her â€¦â€ Let me say this unto the hearts of men. Strange but true. We are traditionally moulded in a society where women are expected to love their husbands more than it is reciprocated unto them. But the opposite should be true. Christ loved the church more than it ever did, to the extent of dying for it and if this Pauline analogy is anything to go by, then husbands have a lot to show for their love.
Instead wives are the ones who are expected to be more tolerant than their husbands. Biblically, is this the way? In fact, the church through ages has been an â€˜unfaithfulâ€™ bride to Christ her groom yet never has he ever given up on her. In short, as irrational as this may sound, it is just godly for the husbands to love their wives more than their wives can reciprocate. Would I be going to extremes here to suggest that not to love oneâ€™ s wife more than she does is be antichrist?
And Paul admonishes children in chapter 6 verse 1 and 2 to obey to obey their parents for this is right. He says this is the first commandment with a promise for a long and pleasant life. It is not all about work outs, or keeps fit routines or swallowing longevity pills or chewing dregs of that bitter herbal concoction. Obeying of elderly people promises long life on this earth, as simple as that.
To sum it all up, in order to build up a splendid Parish, there is need for strong family ties. Families should value such things as respect, submission and love and each member to adhere to their distinct role and appreciating the otherâ€™s roles. This would trickle down to how different roles are appreciated in the church which is a body of many parts.
The author is a Communication & Media Specialist, pastoring the Seventh-Day Adventists in New Mukushi. firstname.lastname@example.org
Analysis: DEXTER NJUKA