- The Storried Platform
AN ECCLESIASTICAL EXPERIENCE – By Femi Ayo-Tubosun
Watching the light of the morning sun ricochet off the wet flowers of our church’s lawn was one of my earliest memories. The solemn equity that everyone seemed to feign at these religious gatherings has always been obvious to me, but my mother conformed to this righteous reverence and so also, I did. While the details of the structure of the service in the old Anglican church is lost to memory, I distinctly remember the voice of old Pastor Matthew.
The way Pastor Matthew’s carefully calculated words of wisdom -as he called them, would enchant, and the almost musical tune of his voice as he lay bare and white the hidden black nature of our hearts, all to stir up the guilt of the congregation. I quickly gathered that this was part of an elaborate scheme. The true end was always the confession and the reconciliation of the divine and the fallen. It was not surprising that tears were shed when he eventually led us singly into a session of worship. The seductive surrealism of his soothing tenor titillated and ushered us all into that place of elation that could only be the coming of the lord, a feeling I did not get to experience until much later.
After the service, we would all go home and perhaps return to the natural evil resident in the heart of man. God’s grace is abundant, we all knew, and surely another session of confession would cleanse us wholly. As I had not been much of a Christian before, I listened to those “songs of the devil” that was especially alluring to sixteen-year-olds. My mother saw me as young and uninformed of the doctrines that secured a place in heaven. I surmised that she assumed that my actions were limited to the juvenile rebellions that marked and made me a teenager. How right, how wrong.
Pretty Susan from school had sold the idea of a party to me. Her words were a promise of fun and a heap load of mortal revelry unrivaled. I had no doubt at all that I was going. But when she mentioned the attendance of Wole Adams, it became as sure as tomorrow. Apparently, he had personally asked the she– Susan get me to the party. I’d have been a fool to miss out on such an opportunity. My most lewd of dresses, I tried on in front of the mirror as I turned this way and that in a poor imitation of the dance that accompanied the old childhood rhyme, change-your-style.
Mother walked in on me, while I was wearing a particularly exposing dress which I had previously bought without her knowing. It took her but a moment to jump to the ridiculous conclusion, which I’d admit was right. She pounced and took swings at me, I screamed for the first time that evening. The noise I made might have been a bit exaggerated but I knew only cries of pain would placate my mother at this point, but in all honesty, my mother packed quite the punch. She called our pastor Matthew, claiming that I surely had a demon residing within and I was in need of a special deliverance.
Pastor Matthew’s coming was the expected but I regarded it with fear and trepidation. Mother excused my confession reluctantly, and I was grateful for that if nothing else. When Pastor Matthew started to pray, I bared myself- body, soul, and spirit. I wanted the confession to be through and thorough.
My cries pierced the night. The violence and despair in the sound of it were in harmony with the smooth tranquility of Pastor Matthew’s voice. The words he mumbled into my ears were a speaking of tongues my ears were far too young to understand. His ministrations brought a filling of spirit that my body revolted against. But the indomitable spirit of the pastor pounded into me incessantly, exhaling the spirit of the devil and seeding new life into me with a final groan.
I felt the blood between my thighs and even before pastor Matthew said it, I knew. I had experienced the coming of the lord, and I had been saved by my own blood. Under the blanket of darkness, my salvation was completed, wholly and totally.
“It is finished”.
By Femi Ayo-Tubosun
Watching the light of the morning sun ricochet off the wet flowers of our church’s lawn was one of my earliest