Hello beautiful people!!…
I’ve been meaning to tell you about church on Sunday. This was supposed to be Monday morning’s post but so much has happened this week.
It started some months ago, when we had this program in church. It was in our head parish in Port-Harcourt and three quarters of my church traveled to Rivers state for the program. Throughout the program, a number of guest pastors ministered. I didn’t keep up with the events but from all the posters around church, I knew that the star of the show- the show stopping pastor, the one for whom the church had raised so much hype- was reserved for the last day of the program.
The last day was on a Sunday and the rest of us in Lagos didn’t have church service as usual. There was the customary praise, worship, prayers and offering, but instead of a normal sermon, we watched the Port-Harcourt service on a large Tv screen via live feed.
It was an… intriguing service. That is really the best way I can describe it. I sat in church and watched (on Tv) as people were called out one after the other. The guy (show-stopper) would walk down an aisle, with his eyes roaming the crowd as he preached. The closer he got, the more uneasy people became. Some would stiffen and almost hold their breaths till he passed while others would shift uncomfortably in their seats. They might look in his general direction to show that they were paying attention to the sermon, but they all avoided any eye-contact.
Finally, he would pause somewhere and pick his next victim.
“You…” he would say and everyone would turn to look at him. “Your name is So-and-so.”
So-and-so would then stand up gently and nod solemnly. The crowd around So-and-so would immediately relax because they are not So-and-so. They are out of danger and will therefore not have their dirty linen aired in public. But even though they are relieved, they are also slightly disappointed because they know they might not get the sensational answers to their life’s problems that they came looking for. Show-stopper pastor would then ask So-and-so a series of questions in the form of statements.
“You are not married…” *So-and-so nods*
“You were in a relationship for 6 years and the man dumped you and married your tenant, the same woman he cheated on you with.” *So-and-so nods and then starts to sob*
“You vowed to never trust another man again…” *So-and-so is weeping*
“In fact, you have been going through one heart break, after another. Men have promised you marriage many times and just when you think it’s about to happen, they leave you.” There’s no need for So-and-so to nod anymore because by now, a member of the technical crew is standing beside her and shoves a microphone close to her lips so that we can hear her breathe heavily and mumble a weak “Yes”.
The crowd is silent and watching with rapt attention.
Finally, the part they’ve all been waiting for comes:
“There is a tree…” he drags out the word ‘treeee’ “…in the middle of your father’s compound in the village. Many years ago, your grandfather raised an alter to the deity in your village. He vowed that no woman in his family will ever get married.”
The crowd gasps and erupts with Chai!’s and Blood-of–Jisox!’s. There’s some God forbid’s and also a lot of head shaking.
“When you were a baby, he buried one of your used diapers under that tree and said that any attempt to settle down with a man will turn to shit”, he adds as the crowd exclaims even louder.
What then follows is intense prayers and, depending on the size of her grandpa’s treeee and how much poop was in the dirty diaper, So-and-so might fall to the floor under the anointing. He reassures her, after praying, that “the chains have been broken” and the crowd cheers and whistles and bursts into song and dance.
He continues the sermon and the cycle repeats itself with a different victim.
Fast forward 6 months later and I found myself sitting in church, holding my breath and hoping secretly that I too will not be called out. The week before, we had been given flyers and posters and were told to invite our neighbors, our friends and enemies… apparently, while I made paper planes out of my flyers, people invited other people because our church hall was packed and I was lucky to get a seat towards the back.
I’m laughing about it now but on that day, it wasn’t so funny. All of us had one thing in common; we all wanted answers, the only difference being that some were more desperate for answers than others. Some of you reading this might understand, the rest of you might not. Whatever the case, you gotta admit that there are crazy problems or situations you find yourself in that you can’t make sense of. You can’t explain why. Things get so bad that you begin to wonder if it’s normal… coupled with the fact that we are Nigerians and we were born naturally suspicious.
Different people handle it in their own ways. Strong people get up every day and fight. The not-so-strong barely manage to stay hopeful while the weak give up and accept the treeee and the buried dirty diaper. They wait for the miraculous solution from a show-stopping pastor.
I’m not judging anyone… I’ve had my moments of desperation and weakness. I was sitting in that church wasn’t I? And even though I didn’t want to be called out, it would have been vindicating to hear that grandpa buried my baby CV under a tree when I was still a baby and vowed that my first job would suck. That would be easier to accept than the fact that maybe I’m not qualified for the kind of oil-block job I want. I don’t have a better job because of my baby CV buried under my uncle’s tree… and if I’m lucky, no one will question why a 6 month old baby had a CV in the first place.
Another thing is, the baby CV story would’ve been better than the guy calling me out to tell me that the Holy Spirit is unhappy about my incessant wanking… one can never tell with these things so I preferred to go unnoticed.
Our service wasn’t as dramatic as the one we watched last year, but it was interesting enough. I wasn’t called out, but I got some answers. I even went for the evening service which was supposed to be a seminar for married couples. There were other single people there so it wasn’t weird being there at all.
I gotta go now cos I’ve exceeded my word limit. Maybe we will continue this conversation another time.
How about you guys though… do you believe in winch? I didn’t say ‘witch’ so you don’t imagine a pretty woman with a long crooked nose, wearing a black cloak and fancy black leather boots. I mean the real Nigerian destiny-destroying, progress-halting, coven-living winsh…
Do you believe or have you not yet gotten to that level of desperation? Or do you not have those kinds of problems?
I don’t know if I’ve made any sense today… smh.
Have a great weekend!