By Bisi Daniels
Horizon is the imaginary line at which the earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet. From Friday night till about 3 am on Sunday, the scene was replicated in The Arena auditorium of Redeemed Christian Church of God’s (RCCG) Redemption City, until recently, the Redemption Camp.
The difference was that instead of clouds, the horizon in the auditorium was one of human heads; if you like, a sea of heads.
It was a day of large numbers. There were two altar calls – one by Rev. Joe Olaiya, founder of the Living Faith Foundation, Kaduna; and the second by the General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye – twice, thousands of people streamed out for salvation. That is important in the church, where soul winning is the primary focus.
The mass movement of people continued when women the church had supported to have babies through prayers were invited to the altar for the blessing of the babies. Again, there was a mass movement of excited women carrying their babies proudly from all corners of the congregation. Soon, a large lake of heads formed at the altars of the old and new auditoriums. Like the Arena, the old auditorium, where people watched the proceeding on large screens, was packed full.
Pastor Adeboye, who has always expressed his love for children, said: “If you consider that in all these homes (of the mothers) there was sorrow, but now there is joy, you cannot but praise the Lord.” The congregation responded with thunderous praise.
From all over the world, people came; from as close as Benin Republic and as far as India. The church’s ability to host and feed the thousands who came from outside the country in the City for the weeklong 70th Jubilee celebration and 40th Convention was indicative of the church’s strength.
On Sunday, commending the various departments of the church at the thanksgiving service, the Kitchen department was one of the three he singled out for praise. The General Overseer said the department was slaughtering many cows for two weeks and worked around the clock to prepare food for participants.
The two other departments were the Sanitation department, which kept the City clean despite the millions of people it hosted; and the Prayer department, called the “engine room,” which prayed around the clock for God’s protection from enemy attacks.
The horizon in the auditoriums became more beautiful as it glowed from the torchlights on the phones of members of the congregation, who lit them as Pastor Adeboye made the Jubilee declaration on Saturday morning.
The horizon soon turned white as the congregation waved handkerchiefs for the General Overseer to anoint remotely from the pulpit. He prayed in tongues as the handkerchiefs were waved frantically.
The practice has been reinforced by testimonies of people who have used the anointed handkerchiefs to perform miracles like healing and even to raise the dead.
Here are some of the testimonies shared at previous services at the Redemption Camp. “A pregnant lady from Lagos was tested HIV positive and had one of the handkerchiefs placed on her. She delivered safely, and later tested HIV negative to the amazement of the doctors.
“ A couple in Lagos waited endlessly for their son to return from school. When by 2am, the boy had not returned, they started praying and waving the wife’s set of handkerchiefs blessed by Pastor Adeboye until the boy called and informed them that he had boarded a wrong bus but his abductors had released him at Obalande, Lagos. They continued to pray and wave the handkerchiefs until the owner of an SUV brought him home. As they made to thank the man, he zoomed off.”
In the closing sermon on the convention’s theme ‘Perfect Jubilee’, which started late Friday, Pastor Adeboye preached about how to receive a perfect Jubilee.
He said: Jubilee comprises two things: Restoration and a New Beginning. What you have lost in life is restored by divine intervention, and you are given the opportunity of a new life.
* Man is made of the body, soul and spirit, so for Jubilee to be perfect, it must touch all three.
* So, there is material jubilee, as found in the lives of Naaman, who was healed of leprosy to have a baby’s spotless skin; and Job, who had everything he had lost doubled.
* Then there is Jubilee for the soul, which is the restoration of the ability to reason wisely and communicate regularly with God.
* Jubilee is most crucial for the spiritual aspect of a person’s life.
* If you lose spiritual Jubilee, you are cut off from God and better off dead than living without the care of your creator.
* There is nothing as bad as losing the ability to hear directly from God.
* Perfect Jubilee means having a jubilee physically, mentally, maritally, and spiritually.
* Jubilee is not perfect if it only takes care of your body and soul, not your spirit.
* But to have perfect Jubilee, you must want it; show God that you need it.
* Jubilee is a decree from God, but if the person in bondage refuses freedom, they will remain in captivity, suffering.
* To show God you want perfect Jubilee, you must surrender completely, hundred per cent, to Him; then you must tell Him you want to be free.
The Friday service ended at about 3 a.m. on Saturday, but it was evident from the congregation’s excitement that they could take more.
So, on Saturday, several people returned to join those who stayed put for the Holy Communion and Anointing service. While the Holy Communion part was largely smooth, the anointing service, which had people moving to pastors at strategic positions to be anointed on their foreheads, stretched for many minutes because of those who also wanted their bottles of oil anointed and others who took pictures of their loved ones along to be anointed.
The celebration and convention ended on Sunday with an ordination and thanksgiving service, but in the week of large numbers, there was still a relatively large congregation, and as many as 2,051 clerics were ordained as full pastors, bringing total ordinations to over 17, 000 deacons, deaconesses, assistant pastors and pastors.
Also, Pastor Adeboye and his entire family of children and grandchildren, clad in white, gave thanks and were prayed for.
As at that time, 82 babies – 48 boys and 34 boys girls-had been born in the medical facilities in the City.
Excited about their experience, participants greeted each other “A blessed Jubilee,” as they streamed out of the City that was a jungle a few decades ago.