The following is a story which I keep telling whenever the opportunity presents itself. Today, I present a modified version of this untitled story which I did not come up with. Do read on …
The Come One, Come All Church of God was filled to capacity and in fact, overflowing. The occasion was a fundraiser in support of the church expansion project. Apparently, the auditorium of 1,800 seats was not enough for the many souls committed and passionate about worshipping the Lord God Almighty. If the fundraising goes on successfully as elaborately planned, there’ll be enough funds for an extra 419 seats to supplement those already in place.
The divine service was already in session, and the worship leader together with his team and band of music inclined instrumentalists ministered songs that stirred up the hearts of the congregation to lift up their hands and voices unto the heavens. After him came the prayer warriors, then the choir dressed beautifully in their woven Kente clothes. They too ministered a song plus two that saw some in the congregation moved to tears. Next was the preacher man.
The preacher man, who was also the church’s recently posted resident minister, took gentle steps towards the pulpit as the congregation sang in unison the popular hymn, “Lord thy word abideth, and thy footsteps guideth”, while the pianist played in the background. As the auditorium became silent in expectation of the words of the preacher man, the sound of screeching tires found its way into the auditorium.
Before the preacher man and resident minister could start his first sentence, the doors at the main entrance of the auditorium burst open in a loud manner that caught some people off guard and almost off their seats in panic. As if that was not enough, men dressed in black overalls with hoods and numbering about twenty walked in through the opened entrance. Everyone was shocked, even the most tired of all the congregants who had been dozing off for the greater part of the service were now wide awake.
In a very dramatic manner, the men took up positions within the auditorium without the aid of any usher, who also watched on, rooted to the spot. Nothing was as scary about the men as the black bags that was strapped across their backs and was occasionally prevented from dangling using their hands clothed in black gloves.
The suspense in the air was thick, and as one them, presumably the leader, picked up a microphone and addressed the fear stricken congregation, everyone hoped against all hope with many independent thoughts running in over a 1800 minds.
In an awkwardly soft and calm voice, he said, “Peace be unto you brethren! We are here as followers of the Advanced Repopulation of Heaven and our sole purpose here is see to the immediate transfer of all true believers into heaven. As such, if you’re here today and profess Jesus Christ as Lord & personal Savior, then rejoice and prepare to meet your God any moment from now. However, if you wish to deny Jesus Christ as Lord and are not willing, for reasons best known to you, to take a bullet for him, then please exit the building now.”
While he made this utterance before the congregation, his fellows had already taken out what looked like AK-47s and were busy setting up for what had now been made clear to all. There was going to be a shooting, and only Christians qualified.
There was a seemingly long period of silence lasting about ten to fifteen seconds during which people shifted uncomfortably in their seats while others kept glancing at one another, most especially at the preacher man, who was clearly in shock and was leaning forward for support against the pulpit. It looked like everyone was going to take a bullet for Christ but not all were willing.
One lady slowly pulled her feet out of her high heel shoe and stood with her hands stretched up as if in worship. She was the choir mistress and wife of the assistant pastor. All it took was the click sound of one of the guns to set men and women of God in motion. The choir mistress was first to break into a run followed by a couple of choristers. They were followed by the Asst Pastor holding the hand his wife, some elders of the church, and other familiar faces seen playing active roles in the church regularly. The first to be out of the door were the ushers and many followed after them. Looking on were the men in black who aimed but did not shoot.
After about 15 minutes of commotion, the noise subsided greatly. For now, it was the cries of some babies who had been left behind by their parents or guardians that could be heard. There were far less people left in the auditorium now, including the preacher man. Shoes, bags, and bibles could all be seen on the red carpet aisles.
Many in the church now had their heads bowed and eyes closed, some on their knees, and a few drenched in sweat and tears.
All they heard next was the leader speaking specifically to the preacher man saying, “Sorry to have barged into this service unannounced. The weeds needed clearing, and that has been done. Now you can provide nourishment for the true seedlings as God willed for you to do.”
This he said, as his colleagues packed everything, and walked out the same way they came
Ideally, what is expected of today’s Christan in such a scenario?
Now, picture yourself as a member of the Come One, Come All Church Of God during this fundraiser and ask yourself whether or not you’ll remain in your seat and why you will or will not do so?
In the final verse of the Hymn, Who is on the Lord’s side?, it reads:
Chosen to be soldiers
In an alien land,
Chosen, called, and faithful,
For our Captain’s band,
In the service royal
Let us not grow cold;
Let us be right loyal,
Noble, true, and bold.
Master, Thou wilt keep us,
By Thy grace divine,
Always on the Lord’s side,
Savior always Thine.