It took Brother John four weeks to find a church in Germany and when he finally did, he had more questions than answers. Since he came here, his spiritual life has gradually receded into comatose.
Praying which used to be the first item on his daily routine back home has now become such a difficult task. His King James Bible sits quietly on the shelf where he dropped it the day he moved into his room and even when he tries to listen to those gospel songs that inspire him on Sunday mornings, they sound like Reggae in his ears.
Determined to mark his first 30 days in Germany with a thanksgiving service in church, Brother John launched a search on Google map. After some minutes of fixing his gaze meticulously on the computer screen, he found a church close to his city. He heaved a sigh of relief and made up his mind to attend the service on Sunday.
Brother John was dressed to the nines on Sunday morning. Now used to the weather and lifestyle of Europe, he knew what to wear, how to wear them and where to take a train to his destination.
On the train, he sat facing a fifty-something-year-old woman who smiled more than she talked. Every time their eyes met, the woman would smile as though her life depended on it.
When the train stopped at the Bahnhof, the woman proved to be more than a smiling figure. Despite the fact she couldn’t speak English fluently, she managed the show Brother John the direction to the church. It was just a few minutes’ walk from where the train stopped.
The church was a tall building older than everyone who worshiped there. Coming from a country where religious organizations contribute a great deal to noise pollution, Brother John thought this place was too quiet to be a church. There were no loud speakers on the roof and the sound-proof doors at the entrance made it difficult to tell what was happening inside from outside.
At the entrance of the church, some men and women were puffing smoke from their cigarettes. Beside them was a tray carrying a heap of packs and filters from already consumed cigarettes. Is the God in Germany merciful to the point of allowing this abomination in his house? Brother John was thinking aloud.
The door was heavier than it looked when Brother John tried to open it. In his country, he would have been welcomed by smiling female ushers dedicated to serving the lord with their strength. They would have directed him to vacant seats in the auditorium and most likely handed him a white envelope to package his offerings and other kingdom investments. But in this German church, he was all by himself.
Ambling through the aisles, he found a seat somewhere in the middle of the auditorium. His eyes roved through the hall and settled on the altar where a man was speaking.
Unlike the men of God in his country, this pastor was ordinary and completely bereft of the pizazz of a modern day pastor. He wore a jean and a black sweat shirt. From the interpreter’s headphone in front of his seat, Brother John learnt that the pastor was speaking about “forgiving our enemies as Jesus Christ did”. The congregation listened attentively.
Pastor ended his sermon with the Amazing grace hymn. They sang in German but Brother John sang in English. The announcement about the next meeting followed and the service was over. There was no testimony, offering or high praise session. There was no healing and deliverance session. There was no weekly prophecy and no time for prayer requests.
Brother John felt empty. This was different from everything he knew about God from his country. On his way out he saw more smokers at entrance of the church. Some lovers were also cuddling in the cold and God did not mind.
He walked home with a flood of questions on his mind. It is now five weeks and Brother John is still looking for God in Germany.
Vincent Nzemeke (@vincentnzemeke)