The Christian Life
A True Story
on Jul 17, 2020
As I wrote in my previous story on this blog, I used to religiously attend church at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi when I was at the university in JKUAT in the years 2007 and 2008. Not only did I play the organ at the cathedral but also enrolled for an evangelism course that sparked in me an interest to read the Bible. And reading the Bible made me religious.
A friend of mine at JKUAT named Mulinge Ndambuki must have sensed my religious nature because he commented one evening in 2008 on how nice a guy I was. While we chatted that evening, Mulinge said to me in Sheng, "Sisi wacha tuponde raha; tutaokoka tukikaribia kukufa. (Leave us to enjoy life; we will get saved when we are nearing death.)"
Even though I was deeply religious back in 2008, I was not the kind of person to demonize and sermonize Mulinge over what he had told me. I just took his remarks in good humour and continued minding my own business.
Coming to think of those remarks Mulinge said to me in 2008, I infer that he perceived Christian life as being very boring. Maybe he thought that allowing God in our lives makes us lose all the fun of living.
But is Christian life really boring? I don't think so. On the contrary:
- Christian life is full of joy: This joy springs from a deep faith that there is a God in heaven who cares about our affairs more than any loving parent could. Because of that faith in God, we Christians worry less. And one thing I have discovered about worrying is that it is very addictive. If we start worrying about little things, we end up worrying about everything. Such kind of worrying drains joy from our lives. Hence why we God-believing Christians are more joyful.
- Christian life is full of peace: This peace emanates from living an upright life that is congruent with Biblical teachings such as forgiving others, confessing our sins, communicating with honesty and labouring for our daily bread. As a result of living such a life, we suffer from guilt less often. And one thing I have discovered about guilt is that it afflicts both the wicked and the upright. But for those of us Christians who are ever busy doing something with our lives and saturating our minds with the Word of God, we feel guilty less often.
- Chritian life is full of courage: This courage comes from understanding and internalizing the Word of God. Throughout the Bible, we Christians are encouraged to live boldly and be ready to say "no". And courage is one of the key ingredients of successful living. If we lack courage, we attract in our lives all that is dehumanizing, such as poverty, oppression and manipulation.
- Christian life is full of hope: This hope comes from a belief that God is working out everything in our favour. We Christians also have this hope that a better life awaits us in heaven after we die. And this hope helps us to cope with the worries and frustrations that litter our every day living. It also makes us optimistic. And optimism, in turn, makes us have a sunny disposition.
Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to say that a Christian life is a constant high. We Christians also have our low moments when God seems to desert us. There are times we feel perplexed and overwhelmed by what is happening to us. As for me, whenever I have faced those low moments, God has always restored me to the path of peace and joy. I believe He will continue doing so in the future. After all, He is my redeemer.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the Christian life, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "My Redeemer Liveth". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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The Church Where I Belong
A True Story
on Jul 12, 2020
Sometimes when I listen to hymns on my laptop, I find myself remembering the times I used to worship at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi. I became a member of the cathedral around April 2007, about a month before I matriculated at the university in JKUAT. What glued me to the cathedral were its friendly congregation as well as its modern facilities such as TV cameras and a majestic organ.
I particularly enjoyed being part of the cathedral's 9.30am English service choir which used to meet on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons for practice. So much did I enjoy being part of the choir that on some weekdays in 2007 while I was at JKUAT, I would look forward to the weekends when I would be reunited with the choir for singing practice and fellowship sessions.
And I must have been a handsome young man back in 2007 because of the way some ladies in the choir were gaga over me. Like there was a chorister called Betty who once escorted me to a matatu station in Nairobi on a rainy Thursday evening during my first days in the choir. Then there was Janet Hazlehurst who invited me to performances of the Nairobi Orchestra on two occasions. And then there was Ruth Wangire who sent me text messages about upcoming fellowship activities of a cell group of which she was the leader.
But being part of the choir was not all fun, though. There were some choristers who, out of hatred and jealousy for me, were suspicious that I was pilfering things from the cathedral. In the past few years, there have been times I have felt resentful at the way those choristers treated me with contempt and suspicion. But I am now consoling myself with the truth that they were just reacting to the kind of person I was. Back in 2007, I was painfully shy, socially inept and sometimes confused.
Owing to my shyness, I stayed on probation in the choir for quite a long time - something that seemed to bother some choristers. Imagine after I became part of the choir in April 2007, I didn't robe and sing in the pews until late December of that year. So I stayed on probation for more than seven months. I didn't mind staying on probation for such a long time because I wasn't such a great tenor singer. And that wasn't the first or last time when something which seemed to bother others didn't concern me at all.
When I started robing and singing in the pews on Sundays in December 2007, some choristers were quick to encourage me to play the organ. I did accompany the choir on the organ during several Sunday services in 2008 - an experience that deepened my love for hymns. And I am sure I would have played more hymns had I had a piano keyboard on which to practise the hymns in the comfort of my room.
As the year 2008 wore on, I appeared to be on the right track to becoming one of the cathedral's organists after my name started appearing on an organists' roster. What's more, I was given a key to the cathedral's majestic organ by a church cleaner named Mutua. While Mutua was handing me the key to the organ, he advised me to work hard as an organist, citing that the cathedral's organists are very much respected.
But guess what! Come August 2008 after I went astray at the university in JKUAT, I lost interest in attending church at All Saints' Cathedral. A few choristers tried reaching me via phone to find out what was happening to me. When I informed them that I had been taken ill, they were sympathetic with me. But I did not disclose to them what exactly had happened to me.
After I went astray at JKUAT, I never managed again to be a consistent church attender. But the All Saints' Cathedral 9.30am English service choir came to occupy a big space in my heart. There were times in 2009 when I feared the choristers would go to JKUAT to find out what had transpired to me. Of course they never did.
Then beginning the year 2011, I started sending emails to the choristers in the course of which I opened up to them on the circumstances that had befell me in JKUAT. I enjoyed sending them those emails. And what I find impressive about the choristers is the way they tolerated my many emails, some of which were silly and vulgar.
Though I no longer go to All Saints' Cathedral or send its choristers emails, the cathedral's 9.30am choir still occupies a big space in my heart. These days, hardly a day ever passes without me thinking about the choristers. That's why I consider All Saints' Cathedral to be the church where I belong.
Over the past ten years, I have tried joining other churches, including my home church where I was part of the youth group for a year or two. But you know what? None of the churches has had the same endearing effect on me as did All Saints' Cathedral.
Because All Saints' Cathedral is the church where I truly belong, I look forward to resuming attending services there once I get lucky enough to own a car. And if I ever get married, I want my wedding to be held in the cathedral. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the church where I belong, you might also enjoy another story I wrote on "People Need the Lord". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.