LEGEND OF THE SEEKER
So,like I said yesterday, I grew up in an Orthodox church and I must admit, I loved every moment I spent there. It was what people would call ‘A Calabar Church’. The service was conducted in Efik. The praise session was amazing..filled with a lot of Efik songs (including the famous “Ima bong i yen ne ke ntak”) Mfon was a deaconess in church and I was a member of the Choir-it was such a big deal. Every Sunday, I would wear my little blue skirt and white shirt and blue shoes and bounce along with my chunky legs. Ah!!! That year, if we were friends and I did not tell you I was a member of my church ‘prestigious choir’, my dear, then we were not friends. Did I mention the vigils? Oh my God!!! I have to. You should see the ginger in everyone’s eyes before the service began. Wait till its 2am and everyone or almost everyone would be asleep. They woke up when it was time for Prophecies…everyone wanted to hear what God had to say to them through a “channel” (a prophet) I remember the way my heart would skip when the Prophet said he/she had a message for me from God. I was young and almost naive but I noticed something:all the prophecies had to do with me dying or being tied in my village or being bound by family curses. It bothered me a whole lot but Mfon would not listen..
See, don’t get me wrong. Prophecies are real. Prophets are real. Their words tallied but I wondered why people had to pay people for their freedom. Now, as young and nearly naive as I was, I knew that in all scriptures where it was stated that Jesus healed or set people free, He did it for free so I didn’t get the aspect of collecting huge amounts of money from people in the name of wanting to set them free. I also did not get the part where almost everyone in my family were accused of being witches!! I mean I know on an average scale, there’s always ‘a bad guy’ in every setting (and I’m not saying witches are not real) but when things are being said to people who are not even matured enough to handle menstruation or break outs, hatred (on a foundation of hear say) is unavoidable. It was probably the fact that I’ve always been a free spirit or something I’m yet to lay my hands on (probably weird) that made me get along with the family members who were accused of being witches (and of course, this is not for the sake of patronage, they are very far from being witches..let’s not dwell on this part too much biko).
Years went by and I watched my mother spend money on prophets. She would go from one prayer house to another seeking God’s intervention. She would stay up for hours praying ”dangerous prayers” or whatever prayers and I would open my eyes and just feel bad for her. But, I was young so, she wouldn’t listen.
has this become an issue of perspective? What they want you to see versus what you see…
Without any intention of sounding cliche, I have always had this fascination for God. As a child I was stay up during siesta (not like it ever existed…they just called it siesta so i would feel less like a barracks kid) reading the Bible. I liked the simplicity. I found a journal I had as a child where I wrote this down
when I grow up, I want to be like Jesus..I want to help people with all my money
I know the all my money part is not entirely true but I realized that Love was my conclusion of everything I read as a child. I believed nobody who truly cared about someone will do something good for the person and ask him/her to pay for it. It just seemed insane to me. So, whenever I went to church and heard pastors saying stuffs like pay this and I would pray for you or buy this and all will be well, it made me draw similarities between my religion and traditional worship…they sounded alike to me..so, why was mine judging the other? They looked similar to me only that one had chalk all over his skin and a red ratchet wrapper on his waist while the other wore a dapper suit he probably bought using the money a member in need of a miracle gave him in order to be set free. Freedom even the one promising and collecting cannot even offer himself.
One day, Mfon took me to the church where I told you that the pastor would get high before attending services. A new pastor came around and from his appearance and charisma, I could tell he was quite young. As soon as he saw me, and heard Mfon’s profile, he took me to the middle of the church; placed his hand on me and said ”you demon dwelling in this child, I command you to come out!!!” Nothing came out. I waited and waited..nothing came out!!! He now pressed his palm against my forehead and said “you green demon, yellow demon, red demon, purple..” “Sir,” I said, “please, my head is hurting me. Mummy, please,tell this man that he is pressing his hand against my head..its really hurting me” Next thing I knew, he was spitting on me. Saying funny things. I walked out. I knew he was going to ask Mfon for money the moment I acted scared or something. So, that drama had to end on time. Don’t even let your mind go there…ain’t no demon in this child’s body baby!!!
Some years ago, Mfon had Fibroid. Years after years I would stay up at night trailing her blood and mopping it. Did I ever hate God? Well, to be honest, I didn’t. All my drama and hurts as a child made me desire to know Him more. I wanted to know who created Him. Who was His superior. How I could see His superior. I needed to talk to the person and bear it all out. I was tired. I didn’t understand God but I never hated Him. Mfon was in pains for years. And when we had saved enough to do something major, she would whisk away to some doctor to carry out a major operation on her. I still did not hate God. I would write letters to Him asking Him to help her and bring my dad home. He never answered both at that time but I didn’t hate Him.
So, this prophet heard about her health condition and told her it was as a result of some past experiences. He said God has sent him to heal her and her time for deliverance had come. I had heard that one too many times. By this time, I was already in University and I had begun to know God more than ever. This time, it was on a basis of a relationship…not religion. Mfon, came home one day and showed me the list the prophet had given to her. What a wonder it was when I saw Star (Beer), Palm wine!!! I just told myself that I needed to see the end of that matter.
At night, they came, made some noise and settled down to drink the Beer and Palm Wine. I was mad!!! I was tired of being played and scammed and all sorts by people who were supposed to show us the way. I told Mfon ‘this is madness and it has to stop. God will never place a price tag on a gift. Jesus healed for free” Mfon, in all her years of being Deaconess in church finally agreed to know God from the ground of a relationship..not religion. Today, I believe in miracles because my mother suffers from Fibroid no more. She said ‘it ended like magic”…for free. That day was the last day those people ever came to our house.
There was one that came to my house of recent, he was supposed to pray for my mum o!! He now held my hand and said there was beads on my waist and I had made a covenant with a spirit husband. He asked me to open my eyes and confess and I opened my eyes, looked him in the eyes and said ” I have no idea about what you are talking about. I thought you are supposed to be praying for my mother?”
I’m actually coming from the angle of Christianity because I’m well grounded there. I literally do not believe that I should open my mouth to talk about other religions for the fact that I have not been in their shoes. I have little or no idea about their cultures and beliefs and principles. So, please, this is not an effort to down wash Christianity or any other religion.
One time, a guy was flirting with me. He said some nasty things and I said “You need Jesus” He gave me the most unexpected reply when he said “Jesus died for your sins too” That was a buzz kill I know..(I don’t even know how to flirt). But he had a point there.
Growing up I was made to see more bad than good in the world because it was believed that the only ones who were your brothers or sisters were your church members. The ones who were destined to be great were members of the choir. As long as people did not cover their head or wore skirts or looked scruffy, you had no business whatsoever with them. As long as they were open about their pasts and confessed their flaws, they were condemned and sentenced to hell. As long as they missed a service, without making inquiries, they were backsliding. As long as a family had no father, the children were doomed. I was taught that if our eyes could be open to see the evil that walks by day, I would not desire to go out. I was taught that the devil was the worst nightmare of anyone. I was taught Muslims and non Christians were pathetic. I was taught fear. I was taught that answered prayers were rare and I saw every answered prayers as a sign of my righteousness. I was taught there was no love in the world and if you are a Christian and did not did not judge people for doing bad, then you too you have an over sized skeleton in your closet. I learnt a lot of things but I never learnt Love.
They said Love is the greatest and somehow all I heard was noise and more noise. All I saw was a system filled with so many noise makers. No action. I saw beggars and naked people. I saw those who always wanted to be judges but since they couldn’t achieve that, they decided to settle in the committee of Chief judges in churches. I saw people wallowing in flaws and weaknesses and had to come to church with plastic smiles…acting like they just had lunch with Jesus a night before and all was alright with the world. All I saw were sections upon sections struggling for whose faith was more profound…whose routines and doctrines were more certified..whose service structure was more heavenly. All I heard was noise and more noise.
Once upon a time my pastor (Rev. N.U Ekong) preached about Faith. He said if we had faith as little as a mustard seed, we could move mountains. After the service, I went to look for Edidiong’s trouble. He chased me. I ran and somehow tore my dress. It was new and my mum would have my head if she found out i tore my dress. The person that chased me went to his house. Me, I went home crying…who sent me message? As soon as I got home, I went into Mfon’s room, placed my pink dress on her bed. I covered the torn part and went on my knees and said “God, please, heal my gown”. I got up, turned the dressed hoping to see the torn part closed..lool!! Omo It never happened. But I never stopped believing.
I have heard people ask questions about why we have so much war in the midst of so many religions. Well, I have asked myself that question over and over again..even rocked myself to sleep with it. I came to this conclusion one sunny day…we have lost the essence of Religion. Now, we have movements with negative intentions powered by positive energy. We are quick to run to evil and by ‘we’ I mean Muslims and Christians and everybody alike!!! We claim we know the fundamental but the truth is we lost it ages ago!!!
When was the last time we saw the world beyond ourselves?
Or really cared?
Or tried to not stand for violence?
What have we become?
Or the Puppets
kini? Whats the name again? Ehen The puppeteer?
No help is for sale…
That’s what I think the fundamental of religion should be..Love because its the greatest of all.
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