Bringing the service to an end proved to be a difficult task. People were so lost that nobody bothered about what time it was. Nobody even noticed it was already past 12 pm; the children department had dismissed and few of the older ones were strolling into the adult church.
Pastor Emeka was the person to finally speak:
“Brethren, I didn’t come to preach. I wish I could but I can’t, God is here and you are a witness to it. It’s not about the songs or how you feel now, but what are you going to do after now? When you get back to your homes, are you going to continue living in strife, unforgiveness, hatred and jealousy? Will you continue in disobedience, pride and all the things that grieve God? That’s the question you need to ask yourself now.”
“We come to church everyday yet we neither fear God nor follow his ways. The path God has called us to walk in is the same path Jesus walked in- the path of obedience to the father even unto death. That’s what it means to be a disciple.”
“A disciple is not one who comes to church, sings in the choir, sweeps the church, goes for evangelism, pays his/her tithe, gives for building project and all the other things we do, those are just the externals; they are the fruit of a life who has denied himself, taken up his cross and is following Jesus.”
“It’s not about occupying one position in church neither is it about getting your needs met but laying down your life so that Christ may be glorified in you; that’s what this is about.”
“We have mixed a lot of things up; we have focused on things that mattered little while leaving the things that are of utmost importance. No matter how big an auditorium we build, if we don’t build lives; our works won’t stand the test of time. No matter the amount of money we raise, if we don’t raise men; we have laboured in vain.”
“I want us to go home and think about these things that God is laying on our hearts, ponder on them and choose to change our ways. The church is not a place for pretense and hypocrisy; Jesus came for the sinners not those who think that they are righteous. So it’s OK to feel terrible but let it go beyond your emotions to action, that’s what repentance is- to turn around and change your ways.”
With that, he explained that the senior Pastor had instructed him to lead us in the benediction and take a few announcements after which the service came to an end. Many people stayed back, still lost in prayers. Others dragged their feet out of the church but one look on them will tell you that they still had an unfinished business with God that they were off to.
I came to work on Monday morning determined to speak with Frank. Working with him these few days was filled with a lot of tension and I was going to end it.
“Good morning Frank, please can I talk to you for a second?”
“You see, I think its time we put the past behind us. Working with you has not been so easy but I had to bring my self to that point where I have to get used to it. You know there is a lot of tension between us and it is affecting our productivity. I don’t want it to be so, we should be more matured and stop being childish.”
“I have heard you, any other thing?”
“Is that all you have to say?” I didn’t see the bombshell coming
“What else do you want me to say?”
“Good morning guys, I see you too are having some serious talk this early morning”, Fatima interrupted. “Please who has a phone charger here, I forgot mine at home and my battery is flat. Inenna, you should have.”
I reached for my handbag and handed Fatima the charger.
“Thanks, I didn’t mean to interrupt o, please continue your gist.”
“We were done a long time ago” Frank replied immediately.
I was startled and walked back to my desk, slowly, wondering how so much love could suddenly turn to so much hostility or was it even love in the first place? I kept my thoughts to myself as Frank walked over to his desk just a few inches from mine.
Though our office was large, it looked smaller now that I am stuck in the same room with my ex. It was as though his eyes were shooting at me like arrows but anytime I looked, he was looking elsewhere. I cringed at the thought of exchanging glances or being caught staring.
I tried to concentrate on my work and drown out the thoughts gripping my heart- they were thoughts of resignation. But I loved my job and needed the money, how could I resign because of Frank? Was it my pride or immaturity? I knew it was both and many more.
Though I was very hungry when I got home after work, I was too tired to make any food. I slumped into my bed for my usual 15 minutes rest; that was one of the most cherished moments of my life.
I went through the activities of the day, smiled at myself for the good memories and consciously avoided the bad ones. I also used this time to daydream about the future, I thought about my dream prince charming who has refused to show up. I was taught to wait for him and not to go looking for him, but why was he delaying? Did he need some green light?
I imagined a godly man who loved the Lord and showered me with a lot of affection too. He had to be very focused, purpose-driven, worded, yet romantic. I imagined that he would be tall, muscular and his smile would take my breath away. But were they still such men out there? Worded and romantic? I prayed they were.
Something told me that the romantic guys were not godly and the godly ones were not romantic and I secretly preferred the former. I laughed at my carnality.
I scolded myself for such thoughts and imagined that God would use his sovereignty to ask me to marry a Pastor. Oh no! “I am not cut out for all those ‘Mother-in-Israel’ roles.” So I dismissed the thought.
I lazily dragged myself out of the fairy tale world and reminded myself that I was only 23; I still had a long way to go or so I thought.
The growing rumblings of my intestine set me on my feet and I quickly prepared indomie; my favorite fast food on days like this and with the can of fanta I bought on my way back, I sent the noodles home where they belonged.