Two things I’ve struggled with on Sundays has been going to church with a notebook and dressing to church here the way I used to dress back in Nigeria.
Growing up, if there was anything we look forward to on Sundays, it was putting on our best clothes. Right from infant, church was a big deal – my mum made sure of that.
In the same vein, we had Sunday school teachers who almost made it a call of duty to teach us and demand we always come to church with a bible to read, a book to write on and a pen to do it with. It was part of our costumes for Sunday service – a total package.
It has stayed with me all through these years, as I hardly never go to church without a pen, a jotter and a bible. Worst moments, I have my phone to do the job of all three costumes. My dressing is incomplete without it.
However, I have come to live in a culture where dressing up to Sunday services is not a thing. Sunday is just one of those days, like any other day. Hence, no need to dress extra. Likewise writing from messages. They would rather sit and just listen, pick the message which is always straight forward and focused.
Preachers here don’t go about using multiple bible verses to teach like we did in Nigeria. Back home, it was almost a mark of competence to use multiple verses to cement your message. Here, preachers choose few verses and espouse on them with lots of insights, background knowledge and for few special ones, personal life stories. Hence, it is easy to sit on one message and the listeners get the lesson and they move.
But for me, every Sunday, there is the struggle of how to dress. I’ve been doing fine though, thanks to the two African prints (plain and pattern Ankara & a special type that I don’t know the name) I’ve spiced my dressing with. Of course, I sometimes go the extra mile though, adding a jacket to my shirt tucked in or as cool as I ever can go. Unlike my comrades here who would rather (mostly) just put on the shirt with a cool jean or pants and nice trainers (now with masks). The ladies/women are not far behind. Nobody is out to outdo the other (not like we do that in Nigeria. Or do we?)
Jotting notes from sermons too has become a me-only thingy. And although I don’t feel obliged to always write down notes from the messages unless something said strikes me as lesson or noteworthy, I always make sure to write the basics (sermon topic, main bible verses and name of preacher). I always feel obligated to do that much.
When I think of it, I remember men and women who for many years made sure they taught me the importance of taking notes in church. Even though we were encouraged to take time to go through them in our free moments or quiet times with God, it was still not a measurement of holiness. Hence, I’m never pressured (especially now as an adult). I am always comforted in the knowledge that when God decides to inspire something in me through what a preacher said in a message, he directs me to it.
In life, we probably might have gone way ahead but the foundations laid during our formative always accompany us. We are products of what we’ve been fed with growing up, especially when virtuous. Indeed, train up a child in the way he should go for when he is old he will not depart from it. In the real world of cares and travails, it looks like my generation forgets. But I’m encouraged in the truth that we actually never completely forget. Submerged maybe, choked and pushed back, yet they will always be there. For when shove comes to push and all chips are down, the hen always comes home to roost.
Happy Sunday, FAM!❣