Monday, December 3, 2012

The Road to Sodom

Sunday Worship Service
December 02, 2012

The Road to Sodom
EBCC Sunday Worship Service
Plot 16, Pocket-6, Nasirpur
Dwarka, Phase-1
December 02, 2012

Conductor Upa Thiankhanmuan takes the stand, welcoming the worshippers he turns to the scripture.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2     Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations
Having read out Psalms 100 he dedicates the worship service to the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the much eventful year 2012, the Worship Team (WT) leads the way to beseeching the Almighty in music and songs of praise- BNL 290 Tung Pathian Sehsa Damsung (God programmed period in life), Hon siamthak nawn in (Renew me O Lord) – and in Mass Prayer.  With the third hymn, the disciples call upon Jesus to blossom in their minds while the ushers collect the offering. A popular reminder of the coming of Christmas, “Na Mangtutphah leh Na Mang Lukhu” calls upon Jesus to shine in them just the way He shone in a manger leaving His Heavenly Throne and Crown. The offering is dedicated by Upa H. Kamsuanthang.
At a time the pastor and some elders spend their Sunday in Lamka for the 64th Annual Conference of the Church, the members of the Delhi EBCC are fortunate to have a guest speaker. As learnt at a later stage, the delegates from all over the country participating in the election of officers who would steer the Church for the period 2013-15 have elected the following:




REV V KHAMVUM (Singngat)


With a formal introduction the conductor hands over the pulpit to the guest speaker. Rev Dr. Khaizakham, Principle, Evangelical College of Theology (ECT) might not be recognized by each and every one; at least the name is familiar. In deed the reverend had graced the Church several times in the past. One of his companions from the ECT Trio, Ms Themnu;  Chairman of the EOC, brother Sonpi Vaiphei;  and the Secretary brother Kh. Ginlalchung accompanies him. Unfortunately his son Khupsamlian Khaute who works as a missionary in Vietnam, gets stuck in the morning traffic. A missionary father obviously wants the eldest son to bear the cross with him. The reverend however never had coerced his son to follow him. And when the Sunday school teacher Rev Seikholun Singson informed him about the landmark decision taken by his son the reverend was brimming with pride.
In the midst of tight schedules – the speaker is  attending EOC worship service at 2.30 pm and thereafter at 5.30 pm he’s slated to share the word of God in Thadou in Kuki worship Service- he requests Ms Themnu herself hailing from a pastor family, to present 2 gospel songs of his own choice, in a row- ‘Zingkal teng a zingthou thei dia nong koih ziak in kakipak’ – Thank God for making me rise every morning, and ‘Toupa hon pan pih in kei leh ka inkuan te – Lord help me and my family. The presentation is gripping!

Fully alive to the fact that the eternal spirit of the chainless human mind is always commandeered by discretion, reverend gives the congregation a detailed guideline on how to be unsuccessful in life.  His message, ‘The Road to Sodom’ is based on the scripture in Genesis 19:12-14. He has a maxim: If you want evil follow Lot’s example, otherwise don’t.  Lot was left in childhood by his father. Uncle Abraham took care of him as his own son. Lot was given property, cattles, shepherds and servants. Everything was fine. But problem descended in the form of a quarrel between the shepherds of Lot and Abraham. They were compelled to live apart. Lot was given a choice between the hills and the valley.
The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry[a] his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

The First Error.  Lot chose the valley of Sodom. He didn’t consult God. That presents a metaphor of making a choice the wrong way. If its folly asking God what to wear just after getting up in the morning, for a Christian woman, it’s certainly ideal to ask God what kind of clothes to buy. Parents need to think about what they ask for their kids. Youngsters need to think about what they use to ask. Earlier it’s a common zeal of a Christian to get a Bible degree for the most brilliant child in the family. With the passage of time and advancement in everything, our priorities are becoming more and more circumspect.
Kimpi, a member of the ECT Trio was courted by an American doctor for such a long time through his parents. But the Godly child wants to settle only if she meets someone with the same commitment. ‘I still want to stay in the Ministry for another 9 years, sorry!’ she says.
The Second Error. In a separate home, there is no evidence in the Bible of Lot having set up family alter. Very few Christian households are like that of Lot’s.  With a chapel and thousands of fellow Christians from Lamka itself, the Church members today can rightly chant about ‘How good The Lord is, to us’ leike Upa Chinsum does. The situation was somehow different when the speaker initially reached Delhi. In fact, he was able to locate the sole symbols of Christianity then, the World Vision office and place of worship, with so much hardship. And yet such fellowships and not the last thing a Christian needs.
The weekly worship services are not sufficient nourishment. From a Christian who works for 9 hours a day and 6 days a week, God wants rest of the week, plus rest of the day.
Brothers like Rev. Dongzathawng have started a movement, ‘Pray for Lamka’ in Shillong. These are steps in the right direction. Nobody gets to Sodom in one night. It’s a result of gradual inching that leads one to state of Sodom. One can go on without family alters. Even Lot was successful and respected in the new land, became member of the town council. And then something happened. There was fire. Today every Christian is inching toward the day of judgement.
God decided to burn Sodom. He first informed Abraham, friend of God! Abraham pleaded to God that Sodom be saved. God wants to see 50 righteous men, that’s not forthcoming. He came down to 45, not forthcoming, 30- No. 20-No. Then Abraham was confident of finding at least 10 righteous men, which mean six+Lot’s family. Even that was not forthcoming. It turned out that Lot had never cared to bear witness to the Gospel.
Lot was not worth uncle’s prayer. On learning about the imminent destruction of the city he informed his prospective son-in-laws of the same. They scoffed! Scoffed the man who never bear witness to the Gospel!
The speaker laments over the fact that while blaming the Meiteis for all ills, the Meiteis know the real culprits – our own people !
Post destruction, the speaker asks, what’s left of Sodom?  Nothing. The accumulation, the stolen wealth, are they worth the effort? What’s left of it?
He relates the story of a certain mister Aditi who hails from the state of Uttar Pradesh. Aditi couldn’t clear the Civil Services examination, lost all hope, climbed up the iron railings of the Yamuna river. At that moment a question struck him: are you going to die with all your vices? He went to Nepal, visited Buddhist stupas, found nothing worth learning. He then went to Shillong. When he went to Mizoram post acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, he was struck by the state of uncleanness of the Christian over there.
When Aditi confided his perception of Mizoram, the speaker Khaizakham was in Shillong. Fortunately, he knew a handful of families who walked hand in hand with God. After introducing Aditi to the families he assured him that there are some pockets where families are headed by Christ.
The reverend chooses the topic not because he has been given, but it is his burden. He closes his message with a prayer.
He is still effective and with a dash of added audacity than was present in him 25 years ago, he has become more awesome and likeable.
In fact I was full of appreciation for the reverend that I happened to buy a green half sleeve shirt, a perfect replica of the one he wore in one of his campaigns in my village.  
Invoking the blessing of God to make the congregation not only the hearers, but set the message working in their personal lives, the conductor calls upon brother Sonpi Vaiphei to convey the gratitude of the EOC to cooperation they received in organizing the Spiritual Convention (Nov 29 to Dec 1)to EBCC and its Pastor V. Nenglian.