The triumphal summons has become a big name in the Diocese of Lagos West – Bishop Odedeji | The Guardian Nigeria News
For three days, the Diocese of Lagos West, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) under the leadership of the Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Reverend James Odedeji brought together all the parishioners of the diocesan field at the church premises in Ikeja , Lagos, December 7-9, to observe their annual triumphal summons program and prayed for the country and Nigerians. During the crusade, Bishop Odedeji spoke to Guardian correspondent CHRIS IREKAMBA about what inspired the diocese to organize the crusade, among other things.
What really inspired the three-day crusade, Triumphant Convocation, labeled: “We are more than conquerors”?
When I got on board about nine years ago, the Holy Spirit let it drop in my mind that I should organize a forum, where the champions would meet every year to pray together. I know we have wonderful programs in our parishes, in archdeacons, and at other levels, but it is a general program that all churches must be present to. By the grace of God, you saw the crowds who attended the opening of the event. It was so encouraging because everyone needs prayer and they believe on this mountain including those who have attended the event in the past. There were so many testimonies from people, whose prayers were answered by God after attending the program. What about those who were unemployed and God provided them with jobs? Many diseases have been healed by God on this mountain, and every year people look forward to the Triumphal Convocation. However, last year we didn’t hold it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, people were asking us,
“When will the triumphal summons take place”? It has become a big name in the Diocese of Lagos West, and we truly thanked God for another glorious outing this year.
So every year we gather champions here to pray and thank God for what he has done for us since the start of the year and to receive more strength for years to come. It all started in 2013 and people, by his grace, triumphed over all limitations. This year we asked God, as the owner of his church, to help us when we met this year and by his grace, the participants returned home with multiple blessings.
I appreciate the efforts of the trustees in all the archdeacons to ensure that their members were present at this event, as this program is the pinnacle of everything we do in the diocese. In this way, we can have strong fellowship before our Creator and thank God for those who had the vision for our annual gathering. If there is a time when we really need to pray, it is now.
Just days ago, gunmen in Nasarawa State released a public statement that people should stop attending church, or else they should be ready to attack. The church is under attack and the people are discouraged; we must therefore pray. Therefore, the Church of God must pray and I have told people many times that if a person around you does not like prayer, run away from them, for prayer is our power. Take the prayer away from each of us and we become desperate. This year one of our guest speakers was the Bishop of Jalingo, the Rt. Reverend Foreman Nedison, a mighty man of God and a preacher you would love to listen to.
What message should people take away from this gathering?
People need to be steadfast, steadfast, and demonstrate their faith in God and know that God exists, despite negative criticism, distraction, and no matter what anyone says. God is still God and owner of His church. He cannot be bankrupt; He has the capacity to deliver His people.
Will this crusade have a positive impact on insecurity in the country?
What you mentioned is part of the reason for this gathering. We must pray for our country; there is no situation that is beyond prayer. God can still bring back the lost glory. Back then when we were much younger we liked to travel at night and you would enjoy your trip but that joy is no longer there as we speak today. Getting around in your neighborhood has become a taboo. I believe so much that if people can pray, “if the people who are called by my name can pray and turn from their evil ways; if they forsake their sins, God will answer them from heaven and heal their country. ‘
You lamented that the church was severely attacked …
Unfortunately, those who are supposed to encourage the church to make us have a positive outcome are enemies of the church. Can you imagine that in some states the government says you need permission to preach the gospel?
You need a certificate before you can share the gospel and where everything has to be censored, we can’t go far. You can’t put God in a cage. The man who speaks is only a mortal before God. He can sleep and no longer wake up.
There was a story that happened in Brazil in 1984 during a particular election. This man, Tancredo Neves came to the campaign field on the last day of the elections and boasted that even God could not stop his victory. Really, he won, but on the eve of the swearing-in, he died. God showed him that he really is God. Our political leaders are playing with fire and they do not know God. This is because if they do, they will know that God is the same God of mercy and at the same time, He is a consuming fire. Since various governments have sought help in other ways without any results, they should try God. They have had highs, and yet there is no solution. Why can’t they try God and see if he won’t be glorified? Remember Elijah who told the people that only God responds with fire and he demonstrated it. The time is coming when everyone will realize that without God nothing can be achieved.
I implore Nigerians not to give up hope. In our state of despair, God is our hope. In our helpless state, God is our helper. He can still improve things.
A word for political leaders?
Our leaders should listen to God. They must be sensitive to the plight of the masses and be held to account, because everyone will be held to account for what they have done. They should know that no king reigns forever. Although they are here today, they will not be tomorrow. Everything on earth has a duration. Once you know this, anything you do should be handled with care.