So I got to church on Sunday morning and we were asked to join in the prayer session. I wasn’t informed about it before, but since it was ‘Yahweh’, the God I had been talking to and not ‘Sango’ or any other idiot, I didn’t need preparation. I’ll spare you details of my dissatisfaction for many of the prayers raised but the dissatisfaction got to a higher level when I saw one of the ministers bring out a bottle of olive oil, a.k.a, ‘anointing oil’, and asked us to kneel down.
My problem has never been with the oil, but with the underlying perspective and intention that guides its use; for the oil is just oil, which is dead in itself.
From my observation, it seems our church leaders want to keep us in a state of perpetual childhood. They seem to never give our faith a chance to grow but are interested in giving us crumbs every now and then. At least they should give us meat and see if we wouldn’t chew it? Yet, they prefer to anoint us with oil rather than help us realize we have the Spirit without measure; so we end up going into life thinking we will succeed because we have been anointed with oil and not because of the power at work within us. And when we meet another stumbling block, we head straight back to them for another round of the anointing oil. Even if we were asking for anointing oil, I thought it was their responsibility to enlighten us. Have they forgotten that the goal of the ministry gifts is to “perfect the saints…till we all come in the unity of faith…unto the measure of the fullness of Christ (see end of post for the full text of Ephesians 4:11-16).
I didn’t want him to anoint me with the oil. I wanted him to know I didn’t need the oil to believe. I wanted him to know he only needed to say the word, to activate what was inside. But as a leader in church, I didn’t want to be seen exchanging words with a minister; so I knelt down in shame, in shame of what we have reduced Christianity to. But it still did not end there.
As we knelt down, we were asked to ask God what we wanted-to create an expectation before the oil comes upon us; more like, ‘what we wanted the oil to do on arrival’. And I wanted to ask him, “if God will hear us asking what we want, why don’t we just trust him to do what we ask, or does he honour the oil more than he honours our voice?”
However, I asked what I wanted: “Dear lord, send light into your church. Give us the humility to embrace the simplicity that comes with truth. Help us dispel this ignorance that has so taken over the body”. With this, it was my turn to be anointed and the man poured down the oil, which eventually became a huge distraction for me in the Sunday school class that followed, for the oil kept running down my heard with a tickling sensation. I couldn’t concentrate until I went to the rest room to clean it off. I just didn’t understand if a single drop of the oil wouldn’t have done the same job.
Did I mention that a young man walked in while we knelt down but refused to join us nor be anointed? Gosh! I wished I could have done the same too rather than keeping quiet in pain and crawling to this blog to lament; but perhaps, my days of verbally and openly confronting such menace are still around the corner.
Maybe I am just in my days of youthful exuberance, and the little truths I have seen in the word of God have made me proud, and irreverent.
Or maybe I am a respectful child who doesn’t want to upset the elders, nor challenge the norms.
Or maybe I’m just a coward who does not want to be called the name of a rebel.
Only time will tell.
#IamImisioluwa, and I am certain there is more to Christianity than what is currently being practised and handed over to us.
(And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16)
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