SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2012.
‘Let it be done speedily or with diligence…’ Ezra 6v12.
Recently, St Anne’s Anglican Church, Okujagu-Ama in the Diocese of Okrika celebrated her annual harvest thanksgiving. Two points of interest about the Church:
One, is situated in an island. Being surrounded by water, you can feel and touch their deep love for the things of God in that enclave.
Two, they are building ‘a cathedral of a sort’ which has reached almost a roofing stage. Coming out from an engine boat and being confronted by such an edifice, makes one feel that indeed the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. If not how would you explain such a gigantic project being put up for the worship of God in that island. Yes, God has people in every generation who love and served Him
Interestingly, St Anne’s Church is under the able and spiritual leadership of Rev. Canon T.T Abioku. Through Abioku’s inspiration the Church had its harvest theme as: ‘Let it be done speedily or with diligence’ Ezra 6v12. The harvest theme was expounded by the Rector of Ibru Centre, Ven. Ernest Onuoha.
Preaching earlier in the service, the Rector gave a graphic account of how Tattenai, Governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai and their associates opposed repairs in the temple at Jerusalem. In their desperation, they petitioned the gentile king Dairus with a view to slowing down the progress of work in the temple. They were not aware that Jews where monotheists who must ensure that they respond to God in all things. God had directed: ‘And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart’ Deut. 6v4-6. Such could not be obliterated by opposition. Even the opposition of Samballat and Tobiah against Nehemiah in repairing the broken walls of Jerusalem came to nothing. But one will begin to wonder what one will likely stand to gain by opposing the work of God?
However, the goodnews today is that God will crush the forces of opposition against His work. I think the case of Tattenai and Shethar Bozenai is a case in point. And so God caused Dairus to search archives and from it Dairus saw that his predecessor king Cyrus had approved work in the house of God. Therefore, he decreed that: ‘the temple must be rebuilt, work not to be interfered in the temple, expenses to be fully paid by the state treasury, whoever changes the decree dies on a beam and God will overthrow such a fellow.’ With the decree in place, the work of God was to be done speedily and with diligence too.
Ven. Onuoha asserted that: ‘those who generously give in support of God’s work also reap bountifully from Him’. He illustrated this from various passages in the scripture: Numbers 7v12-17; I Chronicles 29v2-3, Mark 12v42-44 and 2 Corinthians 8v1-4. He therefore called upon all believers and in particular those in Okujagu-Ama not to relent in their appreciation and thanksgiving to God as they have come to express it through this year’s harvest. The work of God must be done not with reluctance but with speed and diligence.
Thereafter, the Church choir rendered many beautiful songs and it uplifted the hearts of worshippers to the glory of God.
Indeed, we thank dignitaries that graced the occasion like Chief Rufus Ada George, first indigenous Governor of Rivers State, Sir Ochegonue Promise Fingeli (OFR) Rtd, Barr Igbeinbia George, Capt. Benjamin R. Bipialoka Rtd and Hon. Justice Sobere Biambo among others.
We earnestly call upon God to continue to pour His blessings upon this faithful congregation of St Anne’s Okujagu-Ama. They require the favour of God in every respect beyond the harvest celebration. To Him that is able to hold us from falling be all the glory forever and ever, Amen!Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.