An inspired New Year sermon for the non-gullible only, by Kola Oyefeso
It is a new year hurrah we have just chorused as we ritually do yearly whenever we are privileged to witness a new year.
A new year period is generally an interval for celebration. It is a time to pause to take stock and thank God for life and achievements of the outgoing year, while simultaneously, positioning ourselves to taking full advantage of the ensuing year.
That would have been perfect if our purpose in this world as human beings is merely to inhabit it, to eat, drink, procreate, die and after, get cremated to ashes or lowered into the grave for all kinds of earthly insects to feast upon our lifeless bodies.
It is commonsensical to accept that the summon bonum of life should be more than that. It is surely beyond what W.Shakespeare in befuddlement ascribed in Macbeth the motive of the star actor as;
“A tale told by idiot, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.”
Life may not make much meaning to the limited man, but to the Creator and those gifted with expanded consciousness, Life is essentially purposeful.
The Creator in His own wisdom has brought the creation into being with His creative Energy known as the Word in English language, Logos in Hebrew and Kalam-illai by the Muslim Saints.
This Word of God is not exclusive to any religion. The truth is; God can not be pigeonholed into any formalised religion. He is One God that fathers us all, whether one is a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Traditionalist, even Atheist.
Our One-God sustains the entire creation with this Creative Energy of His and also ensures its continuity by the karmic law, otherwise explained to us scientifically by Issac Newton as the law of cause and effect. Jesus emphasized this same law in Galatians 6 vs 7 on quote: “Be not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
It matters not whether we believe it or not, the truth is, nothing explains the seeming imbalance that pervades the world beside the law of sowing and reaping. We are thus in this world reaping the fruits of the seeds we planted previously, while pari-passu planting the seeds of what we will harvest in the morrow.
Some of our scriptures obviously frown at reincarnation.To buy that, we will need to find justification for Abiku or Ogbanje. These were children that died at infancy repeatedly. Their unfortunate parents often put marks on their bodies prior to burying them. On returning to the same parents some of the Abiku or Ogbanje returned with the smirch of the previous births. What could we call that if not a rebirth? Another word for reincarnation.
In Matthew 17 vs 10-13 The Messiah Himself hinted on reincarnation when His disciples asked Him saying; Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? Jesus answered and said to them, Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but they did to him whatever they wished. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
God has gifted all human beings with a brain that is better than that of the animals that we often refer to as beings of the lower species. If we fail to use this better faculty of ours and instead follow anyone or sect sheepishly, we are rarely better than the beasts. One is better not born.
A simple application of man’s sense of discrimination gave an indication that if we are all arriving unto the world for the very first time, we may be disposed to imagining a God that is not fair, in the manner some have come with all kinds of deprivations, suffer ill health and unable to make ends meet. In sharp contra-distinction, there seem to be few out there with a Midas touch. Everything they touched turned to gold.
Again, we are to accept it or not, we have a very very fair God. If we earthly parents full of iniquities and shortcomings try to be fair to our children, how much more would our Heavenly Father be fair to us-who are all His children.
There is no gainsaying about it that our Heavenly Father is fair with exactitude. By the inexorable karmic law, we have caused what we are going through currently. What will happen to us tomorrow is contingent on the choices we are making this moment. Here lies the secret of true living. It is basically to be aware that every act of us has a corresponding reaction and there is no circumventing this law in as much as a farmer can not repudiate the crops of the seeds he has planted.
Given the no escape from the law of retribution, every right thinking individual is meant to take a year end with mixed feelings. Brusquely put, with nostalgia and a bold resolve to turn a new leaf.
Nostalgia? Yes, for the fact that a year end is a brutal reminder that of our allotted span in the earthly field, we have just lost another year and the year lost and past years can not be relived. Paul knew what he was saying when he expounded in 1 Corinthians 15 vs 31 to wit: “I die daily.”
We actually inch to our grave every minute. If this is incontestably true as it is, the lost of a year and the beginning of a new one, should serve us a good reminder of our purpose in this world.
That we have just lost another year should not be too scary to anyone who has lived his life within the injunctions of the Creator. In fact, a true devotee should look forward to his departure from this sinful world, in a manner a bride looks forward to her wedding day. But how many of us can beat chest that he/she has acquired the “wedding garment” that Jesus used as a metaphor in Matthew 22 vs 15-24 to regaining admission into the Kingdom of God.
Because of the sine qua non of acquiring for our soul a wedding garment, while we rejoice and celebrate a new year and during all other festivities that we indulge in serially, we should continue to caution ourselves all times with the admonition captured in Roman 14 vs17 furnished hereunder: “The Kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking, but in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
This does not necessarily imply we should become sadist this period or at any time. It is simply to bring to the fore the limitations of all our convivialities. We deceive ourselves by believing that by throwing parties, or practicing other sense indulgences we are celebrating God. The only way we actually behave Godlike is behaving strictly within the tenets of what is contained in Matthew 22 vs 36-40 which was stated as the greatest commandment in the Laws.
It is essentially to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. This is the 1st and greatest commandment. The second is like unto it, To love our neighbours as ourselves. As a corollary, Jesus said: “On these two laws hang all the prophets and commandments.”
This matter of living within the command of the Creator has been made very straightforward by Jesus. Any other addition to what Jesus said is an embellishment per se, by the latter day religious practitioners.
As easy-peasy Jesus made this matter to us, it seems we have complicated matters for ourselves. In a consumer-oriented society that we have inadvertently turned the world to, it is becoming impossible to love God, talk less loving fellow beings. An important aspect of loving the Creator that is yet to be understood and embraced by the generality of the world populace is that, we can actually love God through our fellow beings. This is for a particular reason that we are all a projection of one Father-God as we will find in John 1 1-4.
For correlation,Jesus emphasised this truth in Matthew 25 vs 35-40 where he taught that whatever good or bad we do to fellow beings, we are doing so to Him and by extension to our Creator.
The essence of loving ourselves cannot be better expressed. We can not actually love or worship God if we despise His creatures.
But why should we despise anyone? God knows best why we are better off than others or why others are well off than we do. The drift is to learn to live in God’s will and see the hands of God in all happenings, irrespective of our perception of events, as we reminded ourselves that our perception itself is prejudiced and subjective. We are all looking at the world with coloured glasses and perceiving the same thing differently. Absolute Reality is beyond the ken of man.
Loving our neighbours is an urgent assignment. If we have to wait till we are millionaires or billionaires, our inheres Oliver Twist tendency will never allow us to assist fellow beings. We will continue to want more and more in a craze to sustain a standard, or be the only one to be deified in and around towns, cites and nations.
Against this proem, as we are setting into the new year, let us resolve to live this particular and subsequent years purposefully.
Towards this, let us remind ourselves of the following:
There is a God in charge of our affairs, of all situations and happenings in this world, and we are to a large extent puppets dancing at the altar of our destinies.
The Master Puppeteer pulling the strings is the Lord Himself.
Nothing in the world is without an objective. God has a reason for granting us the gift of a human birth.
The boon of a human birth as priceless as it is, comes with a responsibility.
The object is not to climb a social tree but, to use the opportunity to worship the Lord and ultimately acquire a wedding garment for our soul.
Jesus asked up to lay our treasures in heaven where thieves can not break through nor moth corrupt. Our true devotion is our only treasures in heaven.
Of all the things we do in life, only our devotion shall avail for us on the day of reckoning when we will account for every morsel swallowed and every breath taken.
Nothing else in this world shall we take away, for empty handed we came empty handed we shall all return to our Maker.
By all means, we are to do everything legitimately to continually improve our situation in this world, while concurrently bearing it in mind that the result is not in our hands. It is actually in the hands of God, who hasn’t created the world and lost the control of it.
By all means we are to shun what is known as complex syndrome. We are neither superior nor inferior to any one.
The little ant in the folklore episode was quoted to have said at the sight of an imposing elephant that he couldn’t have been created by a lesser God than that which created the mighty elephant.
We all carry in us a priceless Divinity thus: We have inheres the potential of a Royal Prince of the Holy of Holies.
He who has sent us into the world cares for us more than we could ever imagine.
Therefore, when we pray, let us seek more of forgiveness of our iniquities and essentially plead with the Lord to direct our ways. The all knowing God does not need our shopping list to the needful.
Repetitive prayers give the impression we are worshipping a God that requires a reminder. That cannot be a perfect God.
This is because the True Lord is indeed Omniscient. He knows our past, present and future conjointly.
He also knows our needs and gives us what we richly deserve. In effect, what is in our destiny we will get. Nothing can stop it.
Ipso facto, what is not in our destiny, the whole world can not give it to us. No Pastor, No Imam, No Native Doctor, indeed No one can give to us what is not in the Lord’s design for us.
When the worldly man reads: “Seek ye shall find, knock it shall be opened unto you,” in Matthew 7 vs 7, his covetous mind thought this applies to material and perishable things of the world.
The materialistic man would have been better informed, if he had read the above in conjunction with Matthew 6 vs 33, when the seeking and knocking were made unambiguous to wit;
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things shall be added unto it.”
In effect, we are to resolve henceforth to devote our lives to seeking and knocking for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. That is going for the Master-Giver Himself and all His Gifts shall be ours automatically.
This may not necessarily make us become one of the Bill Gates, Aristotles or Dangotes of this world. Living within the pristine Holiness of the Lord will earn us an equipoise of the body, mind and soul that surpasses human understanding.
It is this same enduring Peace that both the wealthy and the poor of this world are hankering after, yet elusive to them, because they are seeking for it in wrong places.
Let us therefore, in 2018 and subsequent years ahead walk consciously in the garden of life, we are to enjoy its fruits and fragrances. Living the life of a true householder is a necessity. Discharging our civic responsibility to our community and society is essential.
Above all these, we are to prepensely dedicate our lives to our real mission in this world which is; Seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.
On the above, I wish you all as I wish myself God-The-Master-Giver- and all His Gifts shall be ours in the NAME that is above all names.
. Aare Oyefeso writes from Lagos.