Dancing, rejoicing and worshipping
Posted Sunday, December 29 2013 at 00:00
As the world waits for the midnight hour that will usher in 2014, millions of believers will be reaching out to God. Do not forget to say a prayer.
On the night of December 31, Makerere Full Gospel Church, the first Pentecostal church in Uganda and its sister churches in the city, will gather at Makerere University main sports ground for an overnight service and celebration of the end of the year. The story will be the same in many other venues around the country as churches have made it a custom to end the year with an all-night spiritual jamboree characterised with hyperactive performances from the best gospel musicians, dancers, actors and comedians, complete with plangent fireworks.
Long gone are the days when such events were left to the secular world with multitudes cramming sports venues like Namboole and Nakivubo stadiums to be entertained by musicians. Others would gather in strategic spots with a panoramic view of the city, to watch the fireworks. According to Ivan Wobusobozi of Redemption City Church, evangelical and Pentecostal leaders of more than 1,500 churches in Uganda, have adopted popular ways of ushering in the New Year, but retained the spiritual and transformational angles without taking away the fun and excitement.
But how important are such overnights? According to Pastor Fred Wantaate, the senior pastor of Makerere Full Gospel Church, the last day of the last month in a year is special in the lives of many people for it signals an end to a season and announces the beginning of a new season.
“For many Ugandans it is time to congratulate themselves for having “survived” another year. It is therefore in order for them to celebrate and thank God for enabling them to go through another year,” says Pr. Wantaate. “It is also time to rededicate oneself for next season in prayer, set goals and make resolutions. It is a time to be spiritually recharged and rebooted for the next journey of 12 months. Ugandans repent and pray for their leaders and families.”
Unlike last year’s overnight which focused on prayer, this year’s event has been dubbed a family affair where parents and children will feast on food, tea and cake, with fireworks display to last at least five minutes. There will be no long brimstone sermons admonishing congregants to live pure lives in the next year lest they perish. Rather ordinary Christians will testify of the goodness of the Lord, according to the cleric.
And in line with the night’s theme, “Praise Precedes Victory”, emphasis will be on celebration and thanksgiving with lots of music and dance. The theme is drawn from 2 Chronicles 20 in which King Jehoshaphat is led by God to respond to the fear of imminent destruction with praise and worship. He received a revelation that spiritual worship is the ultimate ambush against Satan and all his designs. And when the king and his men marched to war singing and praising God, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were so defeated that it took three days for Jehoshaphat and his people to carry away the spoil from the battlefield which they baptised the Valley of Blessings.
“Many Ugandans are facing the unknown; the future is littered with serious physical, financial, marital, economic and career challenges. But just like Israel, we must turn our fears and doubts into spiritual praise and overcome our challenges even before we enter the New Year,” Pr. Wantaate says.
May God bless you in the New Year.