The choir mistress ran to the exit of the church in an obvious panic. She halted the church members who were about to leave and begged them to wait for a few minutes.
” Why? See Sister Wunmi, I have to cook Sunday Rice for the FAMILY and there’s no pepper at home. There’s no time to wait.” Sister Folarin said ignoring the hurt look on sister Wunmi’s face and walked out.
There was an awkward silence by the exit. The two other “Virtuous Women” were looking at her expectantly- no doubt echoing the same thoughts as Sister Folarin but hesitant to speak. Five other women emerged from behind the door and called to the two women to join them in their cars and immediately, they left without saying a word to her. She took a deep breath and walked to the pastor’s office. Her hopes of talking to him inside his office were dashed when she spotted him locking his door and greeted him.
“Ah Sister Wunmi! How are you? I really loved the ministration today. It was powerful! The Holy Spirit was in our midst. Keep it up” he said and made to walk away.
“Thank you Sir but I wanted to let you know that today is my birthday”
As the pastor opened his mouth to speak, sister Wunmi closed her eyes and knelt down to receive his prayers. She bowed her head and waited for the stream of prayers but all she got was “bless you”. She opened her eyes and realized that the pastor had already walked away. She heaved a sigh and got up.
“I do not sing for the praises of man but for the blessings of the most high. Lord I praise you for keeping me alive to celebrate yet another birthday” she said and walked to her Benz. The devil kept rearing his head in the form of taunts.
If you were rich they would have celebrated you he mocked her.
If you had a better car, the pastor would have prayed for you.
If you had a husband of your own, Sister Folarin wouldn’t have spoken to you that way.
She admonished herself for letting the devil get to her. It didn’t matter how mere men behaved to her, it was her heavenly reward that counted. She drove off to the nearest orphanage home where she shared her cake-the one she wanted to share with her fellow women in the church- with the orphans and had a mini party. She once again realized how fortunate she was to be alive and well. She was in high spirits by the time she left the orphanage.
************* THE NEXT SUNDAY***********
Pastor Mike was grinning from ear to ear as he informed his congregation of his big announcement at the end of his sermon. He could see the anxiousness on their faces and reveled in the suspense. His sermon ended and he decided to extinguish their anxiety.
” One of our most dedicated and special members celebrated her birthday on..” he began. Sister Wunmi felt her chest swell in joy. Pastor was going to pray for her on the pulpit in front of everyone- in fact, everyone was going to pray for her! To think that she was sad the previous Sunday. She straightened her gown and waited for him to call her to the pulpit. Alas, he never did.
“Sister Monica” he concluded and sister Wunmi’s face fell but she hid her disappointment well and joined the whole church to give sister Monica a standing ovation.
Sister Monica stepped forward in her expensive looking jeans and flashy top and danced all over the pulpit. The congregation kept clapping for her as she had her “special dance.” Sister Wunmi’s vision blurred and she squeezed her forehead till she tasted salt and realized that she was crying. After serving the church for ten years, all she got was “Bless you”. Sister Monica with her vulgar fashion sense was the one that was celebrated and praised. Both she and her husband had their special seat on the front row. Just because they were rich.
“Most dedicated and Special member” must be the new flashy and rich. Her mind traveled back to the previous month when Sister Monica had gotten into a fight with Sister Bolu and stormed out of the church threatening never to return unless she got an apology. Pastor was rumored to have driven to her Villa to plead with her to return because after-all, she was a major donor and stakeholder in the church’s building project.
It appeared that to ever be appreciated, you had to donate large sums of money. Talent was just not appreciated.
She felt someone nudge her and found herself facing a little girl with a running nose who wanted to use the toilet and needed her assistance in cleaning up.
She ended the debate in her mind and led the girl to the toilet because that argument was one that would never end or what do you think? Who really calls the shots in churches these days? The pastors who are at the beck and call of their rich members or the rich who demand that their every request be fulfilled irrespective of the wishes of other congregation members?
More importantly, where now does the Lord of the Host fit in this hierarchy?