It’s been long since I went to church
And longer since I walked into a church and felt your presence
That is odd but our modern churches
House no God
Last time I walked down the aisle
The unsaid divide between male and female
I felt it- the social divide between the wealthy and the poor, the masters and the amateurs
As I advanced the rows of pews
Towards your throne
Decorated in plastic flower
Above it was a cross, made of cheap wood
A wooden carving of Christ, made of cheap wood but varnished to look dear
The red blood that flowed from His wounds was nothing but paint
In your house Lord, everything was unreal in its artificial glare
The music from the sound systems was deafening and impious
Evoking emotions that overwhelmed the worshipers
You God were missed dearly in all
I sat quietly in a chair by the window hoping to find you
My plan was simple, to have a chat with you because everything was headed south
I waited for you, to appear in your glistening robes and take your seat on the throne
From the offices came men in white collars and heavy briefcases in their hands
As they came in we all stood, watching as they bowed before the throne
For your turn
We started before you came
I thought you were just running late and would come in after a while
We opened our hymn books and sang, some read the lyrics from screens on the walls
We contorted our voices to sound like Hillsong and played heavy metal beats on the guitars and pianos
I thought that would change when you came in
The men in white collar stood in turns
Reading reports of tithe from books of record
They asked another team of flashily dressed ushers to dish out envelopes of offertory
We sang again
The announcement came
That the hour we had all been waiting for has finally arrived
I knew that finally you had landed, I straightened my back to gain height to see you
In your place, I saw a man rise and the congregation rise with him
That, definitely, was not you God
He stood at the pulpit and gestured us to sit. He prayed.
He prayed to you. Asking you to guide his tongue. He was full of faith.
Faith that you were seated in heaven and you will send your blessings.
He confirmed my fears, that indeed you were absent and that you have never showed up.
He portrayed you as an arrogant master, one who just sits and subjects.
He also said that one day you will send your son again to take the faithful to your place.
God, he lost me.
Limping from the weight of a heavy and utterly disappointed heart
It was a hoax, I had problems but left with more
The cost of building a church hall and buying a new church bus was placed on my failing shoulders
I was a dollar poorer because I was handed an envelope to fill
I was encouraged to give ten percent of my never enough salary
I was also told to have faith and hope, and that my reward in heaven was insurmountable
I was pissed
Not by you, but by my wild expectations
My feelings flooded my mind as I walked home, I had to walk, remember the dollar
Was my fare back home and Coca-Cola as I watched Sunday afternoon football
I missed on both and also the chance to tell you my troubles
I didn’t see the accident along the road
A bus had ran into pedestrians
I missed the demonstration by hawkers
I got home safe
In the quiet of the house
The emptiness of the room I called mine
I felt it, I felt your presence
You were not bored of waiting for me
In fact you weren’t waiting
You have always been there
You sat so gently and still that all along I missed you
Your shoes felt dusty even before I saw them
So you walk God, you walked with me on my way back
Why didn’t you say a thing?
Why don’t you say a thing to me once?
I wonder where you sat in church. Or the atmosphere was too made up for you
I know the different colognes gets toxic sometimes
And the efforts to look sophisticated make us call you ‘Gawd!’
Maybe you detest pretense and sense hatred
The music, the love for money, the development oriented leadership
The misguided search for you God in church is suffocating.
We aim to please you
But we are pathetic at it
We think it is by giving, by asking, by worshipping…
In the doing we miss the point
Maybe all you want us to do is to listen
First for your presence then for your instruction.