It was yet another Sunday, and life was taking the same pattern as always for the last six years. His alarm had gone off at 5am, and he had as usual, without looking, groped for the big King James Version bible by his bedside table, in the dark.
He did not need any illumination to find his way to the study, stocked with theology books and mounds of spiritual classics he had never opened. His wife had a weekly ritual of dusting those books like they were some sort of estate to be passed to the next generation. In a few minutes, the resounding noise from the Mikano generator flooded the compound. Adamu already knew he was supposed to switch on the generator at 5 am every day, save for days when PHCN was gracious enough to give power.
He opened his memo pad, and for a minute, he scribbled down some words that made no sense. He wanted something catchy… something that would move the congregation and leave them giving expressions like “word” “preach it Sir!” Engineer Odulaja had been so blessed last month that he blessed the Church in the person of the Pastor, with a new iPad. Daniel was still planning on how to type his sermons on the iPad and read from it during the service. He would title the message “Living in the New Testament.”
Nothing seemed to flow. He was blank. He felt like he had preached it all. He had been the pastor of Abundant Grace Tabernacle Ministries International for six years. Six years was enough to exhaust the 66 books in the Bible. He decided he would let the spirit take charge and give him utterance.
Ifeoma had gotten dressed in her gold French lace skirt and blouse. He looked at her bust and she smiled, as though she knew he was impressed. She was the true model of a “Mummy Church”. Her neckline was high enough, unlike last Sunday when she had worn a v-neck and when she had danced forward for the Nelsons’ baby dedication; the church video camera had captured her revealed cleavage. It was so humiliating when the junior pastor’s wife had told him that she had noticed, and the spirit of God told her to discuss it with him. Yet she had also been led to gossip about it at the Christian Wives Association meeting.
As he stepped out of the vehicle, a member of the protocol team was already waiting to receive his bible and memo pad. Ifeoma held their two children and walked at a slower pace, pretending not to the notice the “holy hug” shared by her husband and the protocol member. Despite her 6-inch heels, she was able to walk smart and swiftly. Her hair bouncing with elegance as she held her bag in one hand, and Pastor’s things in the other.
After the choir had ministered their song, with the lead singer scoring it exactly the way Damita Haddon had sung it, Daniel shut his eyes for a second -waiting for utterance and inspiration. He climbed on the pulpit and decided the lead singer should render worship songs because the choir ministration had been so spirit filled. He shut his eyes, saying ‘amen’ and ‘hallelujah’, but working his mind around what to say.
In an hour and thirty minutes, the service was over and people had started forming a little crowd to say hello to the pastor. Feyikunmi was doing a good job, asking for the importance of the reason to see pastor. If it was not so important then they would have to wait for a little longer.
“That was a worded message on Genesis 1.1, pastor!” Mrs Julius said, in her usual British accent. “We are so used to Genesis 1.1 but, today you enlightened me and now I know the same God that created the heavens is the same that made the earth, and as such, we can enjoy our heaven on earth. God bless you and continue to use you sir!”
“Mrs Julius, it is always about remembering the basics. The word of God is so simple for us to understand. How are the kids doing?” Daniel said, adjusting his Michael Kors wristwatch.
She shook her head. “They are fine. They are spending the holiday with their father and his new mistress.”
Daniel squeezed her hand and said a small prayer, then assured her that everything would be alright.
“You did the right thing. Contrary to the view of many sanctimonious folks, divorce is allowed by God on the grounds of adultery. God wants you to be happy, and you know, wisdom is profitable to direct. You are a good woman and you deserve happiness.” Later that week, she transferred Two million Naira to the church account to help the “Evangelism-on-the-go” fund raising movement.
Ifeoma had gone back home with the kids immediately after the service, on her husband’s instruction. Daniel forbade her from counselling anyone that Sunday, because she herself needed spiritual purging and a retreat, as a result of her cleavage drama last Sunday. He stayed back in the church office because he needed to see a few important members of the church and plan some meetings for the month.
As he looked through his bible, he shut his eyes and tried to talk to God. He searched for the words to say but they just were missing. He knew he had fooled the congregation and just given a sermon out of common sense, but he knew they would believe and take in every sermon he gave as powerful. He knew he should not have told Mrs Julius she was right in leaving her husband, but if he had told her otherwise, she would have been upset and would have left the church. He knew he should not have hit Ifeoma last Sunday because her cleavage had been revealed when she danced. He should not have told his children it was holy anger when they asked why he hit Mummy every time. He knew the guilt of the miscarriage still tore him apart. He had beaten Ifeoma so much and she had lost their pregnancy. He had to lie to church members that she had been under a lot of stress at the office.
Feyikunmi walked in, after all the other pastors and important members had left.He knew he should not have started having an affair with her. She was everything Ifeoma was not. She was slim, beautiful, fair skinned, and well endowed. She knew how to take care of herself with the money he gave her, and more importantly, how to take care of him in ways Ifeoma could not (or had forgotten). Her presence always made him remember his bachelorhood. He wanted Ifeoma to be the Mummy Church, but he knew he was bored with her endless church conversations, and how she wanted him to fast and pray concerning every little thing. He was bored with the way she respected him. Feyikunmi on the other hand, disrespected him with a sexy kind of respect. She always had an attractive appearance and he knew he was not the only man attracted to her. A lot of brothers had approached him, saying God had told them Feyikunmi was the One.
As she sat on his table, and kissed his head, he tried to find the words to speak to God but there was an empty void, as empty as the earth was in Genesis 1.1.
to be continued…
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