Sunday 14th October, 2018 [Education Sunday]
Hymn of Meditation: PH 765
Word that comes from the Lord God,
That reveals what is in me,
All my sin I see from this,
And I see my Saviour Christ.
Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart
We are gathered today by the grace of God as we celebrate the Education Week under the theme “Reclaiming our lost values; Discipline and good morals”. I ask myself, do we as Christians have a particular way of doing things which can be described as values? I believe our answer is yes! As Christians there is a way of doing things and a way we need to act and speak. Even our thoughts must follow certain trends. That is what manifested in the time of the disciples after Jesus ascended, which earned them the name ‘Christians’.
We are being told today to reclaim the values we have lost. When we speak of values, we are referring to something that you are noted for; something that you can be described by and people associate with you or know you to be. Again I ask, as Presbyterians are there some values peculiar to us? There is something we call the Presbyterian discipline. We were formally described as Presbyterians not because of our worship but due to our way of life which was referred to as the Presbyterian discipline.
Before anybody says he has lost something, then there must have been something there previously; certain values of discipline, time consciousness etc. Now, how did we lose all these?
There is a saying that “If the church in the home is strong, then the church in the church will also be strong”. The church in the home refers to the parents and children. After all, the church does not refer to the building we sit in to worship but our individual selves. So, it does not matter where we sit, whether under a tree or anywhere else, as we gather in His name, believing He is in our midst, we are a church. If the parents and children at home constitute themselves into a church, having faith in the one God, and do things according to what is prescribed in the Holy Book, we make the church stronger when we come together to worship. It is sad to hear of people who could go a whole year or more without opening and reading the Bible for themselves but only come to sit and listen and go. Others even choose not to come to church for their own petty reasons. So when we talk of values getting lost, it is basically about these things. We neither cherish them nor take them serious anymore.
Before the Missionaries came, there was no worship of God through Jesus Christ; they brought that to us, and those who accepted did not only accept the words spoken to them but actually began to practice them, gathered in Salem and did everything in common. That is how people begun to see them as Presbyterians. Today, we have a mixture of people from diverse backgrounds hence, diverse interpretations of the Word of God with people trying to explain the Bible according to their needs, creating a whole lot of problems.
In the third reading, we are told of a young rich man I describe as self-righteous. Most of us can also profess to have done all the required righteous things from our childhood but if Jesus should come today, we will definitely fall short. In our case today, we may attend all the programmes here, even ‘sing in tongues’ and try to fulfil all righteousness but are still not close to the Lord. Sometimes we even shun our own programmes to attend to other ones which may not be necessarily bad but may just be in conflict with our own programmes and timelines; which one do you choose in times like that. If your favourite football team is playing and there happens to be a church programme at the same time, which will you choose?
We are losing something so dear, and it is making the church in the church weaker and weaker. Reading the Word of God should be part and parcel of the family life. Praying together, discussing the Word and living by it should be our daily life practice engraved into us from home. If a man or woman displays and proclaims to be filled with the Holy Ghost, his or her spouse or closest associate will be a true witness as to whether he speaks the truth or not. Let your life first speak to you before you can speak to others.
Again, there are certain things we need to turn to if we must reclaim our lost values. 2 Timothy 2:1-5 enumerates some of them…
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
Time with family is becoming lesser and lesser due to proximity of church and work and home. There is always early wake and rush to go to work and send children to school; all these bring about all forms of excuses. In the long run, it only contributes to make the church at home weaker and weaker, thereby, weakening the church in the church. The devil is the one who is most happy about this kind of situation. Formal education has also taken most of our time. Basic home training has now eluded us.
The most important factor in turning things around is commitment. Often, we may not see these things as hindrances but it’s truly weakening the church. Our children are exposed to several friends and factors at school that influence their thinking and behaviours all the time. Bible believing must always follow any other belief system to make it acceptable.
May we come back to the lost values that make us Christians?