Ecclesiastical Ceremonies and Scriptural Imperatives
It has been my thought consistently now for 24 years, that official ministry ceremonies are not part of the Christian mandate. I stand to be corrected.
I still insist that traditions, whether ecclesiastical or native, brought ecclesiastical ceremonies in over time.
Ordination and investiture were not there in the first century. The special pouring of oil was not even there.
Jesus only commissioned the twelve by sending them forth.
The ‘ceremony’ that launched Paul and Barnabas into their missionary endeavour was not preplanned; it was born out of days of ministering to Lord in fasting and prayer and a clear word from the Holy Spirit.
They simply laid hands on them, without oil poured or specially tailored wears donned, and subsequently released them to go.
What they did with no ceremony laid the foundation for the outreaches to the nations till now.
I still ask myself, though I have sat in a few, how we shall defend the enormous budget earmarked for ordinations, installation ceremonies and official confirmation of churches already planted successfully and the painful sacrifices or levies so undertaken.
I have been amazed at the political power play, schemings and bickering for recognition and ordinations, the exceptional attention given to official garment decorations over time.
If everything we do shall be accounted for on that day, I have fears, and I have no plans to be more relaxed on this, of having on the list what He did not specify for His church.
Help us Lord to concentrate on the weightier matters of your word without concentrating more on things that are not even secondary.
Help us not to glorify our minds above the prompting of your spirit.
Sincerely, there are areas where we have considered our decisions mature enough, without seeking clarifications from the Holy Spirit.
I tabled an issue before Him in 98, He responded point blank that He did not instruct me to do one of the things I did during ministry in 97. I told Him that I thought He led me to do it as I ministered in one of my itineraries that year, more so when there was testimony subsequent to it. He reminded me of what He asked me to do then, and I still remember it till now, and how I extended the word into other things based on the association I was keeping.
I looked back and objectively admitted that I brought other forms into the instruction (blessing a bottled of oil for the person He gave me a word for with an instruction to pray for the fellow) simply because it was in vogue.
I learnt since then to follow the faith of those ahead of me, within the bounds of the scriptural imperatives, and to respect their choice in subjective matters, as one who would account for himself and how he led others on that day.
I learnt ever since to responsibly sepaRate individual choices of my fathers from their obedience to the objective imperatives of the scriptures.
I have learnt over time that prayers, privately done or carried out in a simple Christain meeting, without fanfare, pomp and pageantry is all we need for ministry.
May the Holy Spirit help us to be adequate in our response to Him on that day, when He asks of us what we have done concerning His plans and purpose.