It is a Monday morning and I’m in the office wondering why the heck I’m even at work this week. The school is practically closed, the lecturers are still on strike and it’s too early for lunch. I just ate but I want me some lunch! But before I start drawing, because Lord knows there’s nothing else I’m doing today, I decided to bring out the pen. Not the black gel pen – I left that one at home – just an ordinary Bic for an ordinary story.
Yesterday (this happened a while ago so it’s not actually yesterday, yesterday) was Sunday. And it was a fine Sunday as most Sundays tend to be. Eve and I decided to deviate from our usual routine and skip the Church of the Livestream service in favor of physical service. The whole not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together as the Bible puts it. So we dressed up and went to a church close to home – barely a song away.
By the way, sometimes I measure distance in songs. I know my workplace is five or six songs away. Regular songs. Not Bahati Bukuku songs or lingala numbers.
Friends, I am a church person through and through. I love it. I love choirs, preaching, and ignoring people when service is over. Church is the best. But yesterday we were reminded that one can’t just go into any old church. It has to be ordained. A place you can grow. This place? This place was dull.
I do not mean to speak ill of churches in general but now I understand people’s hesitance to join the greater body of Christ. See, Eve and I left home early. We knew that service started at 10 am and since we were ready by 10 am (I wasted a bit of time so we left at 10.20) we got there early. The first service (which we didn’t know about) had wrapped up and we went into the building, sat down and watched and waited for the next service to begin.
At 10.30 am the Praise and Worship team gathered at the altar and this dude started leading worship. His face was hard and he stiffened up each time he sang a line. It was like he was in pain but we’re just going to assume that he was feeling the music. However, the music was painful too so, you know what, ignore that earlier sentence, the dude was feeling the pain. He also kept admonishing us to rejoice in the Lord. He should have admonished his face.
In the Father’s House we use words like ‘admonish’ just because.
A few minutes later, the praise and worship (and pain) was done and someone prayed over the service. In my surely sound mind, that means that the sermon is about to start right?
The dude, let’s call him Jabez, took to the stage again and started another round of songs. Kidogo kidogo, Jabez hands the mic over to this other lady (who we’ll call Rebecca) and she promptly told us to do stuff if we love Jesus.
“If you love Jesus, clap!”
“If you love Jesus, sing!”
“If you love Jesus….”
Yes, I do love Jesus but hear me out. It’s just a thought but must I be compelled to do this stuff for Him? Must the congregation be emotionally manipulated so that we can participate in the cacophony that you call praise?
Methinks not. We can be reminded that we are singing for a purpose though. Because He loves us. Because He gave Himself for us. Because He is worthy – you know, we’re human, we forget and we get out of bed in bad moods and we can never love God more than He loves us so this whole “Kama unapenda Yesu, If you love Jesus…” thing will never motivate people to do stuff.
It reminds me of those Facebook “friends” who post things like “If you love Jesus, type Amen and share to 14 other people to be blessed.”
Lady, first of all, I barely know 14 people. Secondly, if I don’t type Amen and dismiss your post entirely, will Jesus disown me?
I was getting really bored and so was Eve and whenever this happens we start sending each other texts. Masks and social distancing have made it really hard to gossip in church. Sigh.
Several minutes later, Rebecca stopped singing and introduced another lady who introduced presentations. Many, many presentations. The best one was from the Sunday School kids though – at least the children were organized AND they could sing. There is hope for the future.
Punde si punde, Rebecca comes back! She comes back! She then tells the choir to come up for their presentation. Sasa mimi I am perplexed. The praise and worship team isn’t the same group as the choir? Are they doing a different work?
Sigh, so anyway, the choir sings and we clap. Then ati the elderly people get to sing – which was like 2 old dudes, and 35 women. After that, the youth i.e. anyone who wasn’t there while the elders sang, were called to come up and sing also. Sasa me I am tayad! Yaani, Eve and I were also expected to go join akina Jabez and sing a hymn I had never heard? I cannot. Actually, I can but I cannot.
After that fiasco, in which only Jabez and Rebecca presented the hymn, some old dude went up to the altar and gave irrelevant announcements about their sister church in I don’t even remember where for 10 straight minutes. At this point, Eve and I were just done. All of this took two and a half hours. A movie! I could have watched Infinity War again. Eve and I could have watched almost three episodes of Hometown Cha! Cha! Cha! How dare they waste time like that? The pastor didn’t even preach! When was he supposed to do that? At 3?
So we left and went back to the Church of the Livestream. Back to Bedside Baptist. The Living Word in the Living Room.
And I have reported them to God.