You all must have heard it, the #hallelujahchallenge!
Gospel singer, Nathaniel Bassey requested that Christians join in on a 30 day live night vigil of praises to God for one hour. His aim, as stated on the Instagram page where the challenge was sent, is to ‘lift the name of God and bring glory and salvation upon his people…’
I won’t claim to know what prompted Nathaniel to put out this challenge but I admit I didn’t pay much attention to it even after I began to see a few friends on Facebook post several appellations of God on their walls and even after I got notifications on Facebook to join the live worship.
Me ke? Deprive myself of sleep? Nah, I’ll pass.
But what got my goose was the theme of the challenge; Olowogbogboro; a Yoruba word that suggests the everlasting arms of God reaching out to devotees of the faith and meeting their needs.
It became more intriguing when Facebook created templates for the theme; I thought that was really cool. I tried to find out how that came to be, is there a Nigerian in the graphics team at Facebook who designed these? Did Nathaniel Bassey request this?
I haven’t got answers, yet.
But soon, like many things with popular followings, the salvos began to fly over social media between supporters of the challenge and those against it; add that to the one where commenters mocked Funke Akindele who joined in the challenge and offered up a prayer to have children of her own.
I read posts denigrating the effectiveness, wisdom, even stupidity of the challenge; I wasn’t sure why anyone should even be upset about it. Perhaps there was something I was missing, I thought, so I read up both sides of the argument.
The general points against the challenge centres around the fact that Nigeria’s problems are too great for any kind of praise and worship challenge to wash away and so many saw it as a waste of time particularly when ‘challengers’ were no saints.
Supporters didn’t agree, they insist that God can still do great things regardless.
I decided to drop in on one of the live vigils a few days ago; despite the epileptic network. I joined in when viewers were some 4 thousand 2 hundred, in less than 20 minutes, the figures had leapt to 30,000 viewers and growing; viewers plugged in and the numbers just kept ballooning and by the time I slept off a few minutes later the figure was over 40,000.
This is serious!
But here’s the thing, for those who believe; this challenge reminds me of the story in the Bible about the Tower of Babel, Genesis 11:1-9. You know it, don’t you? The growing population of Mesopotamia decided to build a tall, proud symbol of how great they had made their nation. They wanted a tower that would “reach to the heavens” and rival God.
God did not like the pride and arrogance in the hearts of these people; God also knew that if He let them, they would achieve this purpose because of their singleness of mind and so He caused the people to suddenly speak different languages so they could not communicate and work together to build the tower. The tower was named The Tower of Babel because the word Babel means confusion.
It’s this singleness of mind I see with the growing numbers on this Challenge; except for pop stars, I am not sure any artiste has commanded this level of commitment to a single purpose the way this challenge has done so far.
It is this singleness of mind, this one purpose to achieve something meaningful that I salute! If God recognizes it from people who agree and believe, who am I to say, they won’t achieve their aim?
And for those who do not believe, it’s ok not to believe! That’s why we have unbelievers!
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