It's now a Sunday morning I'm preparing myself for church. I'm not sure if I should go but my heart really longs for the word of God. Elijah invited me to come so I'm looking forward to a great band and worshippers. I'm very unforgiving when it comes to bad singing and off key discord between the band. Mainly because worship to me plays a vital role to my soul. It brings me to life and uplifts me in so many ways. Nkazimulo and I have been there before it's a good church. I just hope worship is on point. I'm having breakfast and I'm missing my dad right now. I decide to call him. And he answers.
Dad: Baby. Tabitha: Daddyo.
Dad: You are so grumpy my love are you okay?
Tabitha: Kinda. I'm just tired. I'm drained to be honest. Dad: What's on your mind?
Tabitha: I just want to go out for a vacation and just relax.
Dad: You want to go alone? I mean you deserve all the time out.
Tabitha: I need a partner I can't go alone.
Dad: Go with your sister.
Tabitha: I guess so.
Dad: I'll handle the expenses. Just tell me where you want to go.
Tabitha: I was thinking Durban or Capetown.
Dad: So far...
Tabitha: Well I need to be away from everything and everyone else.
He sighs thoughtfully.
Tabitha: Anyway. How's it at home?
Dad: I'm hardly home. Tabitha: I hope you and mom are not separating.
Dad: You read my mind.
Tabitha: You're actually not considering that right...
Dad: It doesn't concern you so you don't have to worry about that.
I nod expectantly.
Dad: I'm sorry Humi. Your mother isn't making it easy to live with her.
I silently chewed up my food. Dad: Isn't that why you moved out?
Dad: Well... Are you going to church? Tabitha: Yes papa.
Dad: Enjoy yourself I love you. Tabitha: I know you do.
He ends the call and I'm left staring at the screen of my phone blankly. I'm numb from this phone call. . .
Bishop Dube my spiritual father had summoned me so I'm in church sitting in the second row. The church is full already and it's time for the word of God. I scan the crowd and take my phone out. I get a message from Tabitha. "I'm at the back don't worry. I arrived safely." I sigh in relief and place my phone in my bag. Bishop
Dube: Hallelujah Congregation: Amen! Bishop Dube: I want us to go to the book of Joel 2:28-29 We all turn to the book and I'm nervous when I see one of the levites bring forth cloths to him and he lays them on the altar while a fellow member reads the scripture audibly on a mic. ("Afterwards I will pour out my spirit on everyone: your sons and daughters will proclaim my message; your old men will see visions. At that time I will pour out my spirit even on servants both men and women") Bishop Dube: For the world is truly waiting for the manifestations of the sons of God and uNkulunkulu cannot by any chance release his believers to go out and deliver his people and bring abundant life to them without preparing his chosen ones.
Congregation: Amen! Bishop Dube: The word of God says ukuthi as the sons of God... Because there are levels different types of dimensions you need to tap in. There are people of God. There are children of God and there are sons of God. Can I go deeper somebody? I chuckle briefly as everyone else approve. My father is really dramatic. Bishop Nhlapo: People of God is everyone and anyone people who are not saved are still people of God drunkards every kind of abomination and lost soul are People of God. Then we have Children of God who take a step of faith to get out of the crowd. The ones who take a decision to give their lives to God. But it doesn't end there...to be a Son of God you need to work for it. You need to be treated like nothing before you are elevated to being a son. Oh Jesus I feel like I'm speaking Greek... People immediately scream "amen!"
Bishop Dube: Niyangizwa? Ngithi for God to elevate you from being an ordinary child. He needs to test you he needs to know if he can trust you so that when bigger things come he knows that nothing can move you.Ngikhe ngizwe sometimes umzalwane ey... Oh no. I'm listen attentively. Bishop Dube: Athi umzalwane they won't go to church only because people are talking about him/ her then they come to me crying and I'm wondering... Must I stop people from talking? When we have freedom of speech in this country. We laugh as he wipes his sweaty forehead. Honestly this word is what I'm really looking forward to.
Bishop Dube: Where's my son? Mdlalose? I instantly stand up. He calls me forward and I walk to stand and face him.
Bishop Dube: You've been dodging bullets the past months and I've been watching you. And unfortunately for you today is not the day...
People chuckle lightly. I look down and immediately everthing he says falls on deaf ears.
He pats my shoulder boasting about me in front of everyone.
Bishop Dube: I called Bishop Nhlapo too
Bishop Dube: I called Bishop Nhlapo too he's on his way and the ceremony is about to commence... This young man here has been through alot...
Oh lord please I am about to faint.
Bishop Dube: I've seen him at his lowest and highest I know his downfalls I've seen him want to give up on God. And through everything his love for Christ has always remained. And I'm so proud of him because through the storms this church has went through... Many of you know he's always been here. He has never turned his back on me.
Congregation: Amen. I'm humbled by this right now. And I'm still facing the altar. I'd die seeing all these faces. Bishop Dube: He's an ordained Apostle but today... God is doing a new thing. He's about to be revived and refreshed in His presence.
He clears his throat.
Bishop Dube: And to make things clear the devil knew about all of this before we could go ahead and do it. That's the painful truth. But we're not shaken or moved. God's work has to go on whether he likes it or not.
He orders me to take off my shoes and kneel down. I comply.
Bishop Dube: Hmm my Son... See I'm not lifting him up. It's his time all because when God lifts you up no one can bring you down. Not even the biggest witch not even the mightiest prophet. God upgrades and will degrade and now it will all be up to him to be faithful.
I nod lightly. He is being genuine.
Bishop Dube: False prophets have claimed the glory deceived and turned people in the wrong direction. But I can guarantee you. This is a true man of God. Here we preach nothing but Jesus Christ. He is Lord and He reigns.
Everyone applauds in approval.
After a song or two the ceremony commences. . .
[TABITHA] I am looking at poor Elijah being poured over his head with oil. Poor thing. Shame! I quickly dash off to the bathroom because I'm pressed and I've been holding it in. Heading to the bathroom I see a lady at the end of the room wearing shades speaking over the phone. Walking in she lowered her voice. That is just shady. Anyway walking out she is already gone. I wash my hands and apply lipstick. More ladies start to fill the toilets and they are talking about Elijah. I widen my eyes as I'm listening to their silly conversation. Do people come to church for men really? After that sermon really? Hehe! They walk out and I've already lost track of time. They greet me warmly and one starts complimenting me.
Girl: I'm Shirley. Are you new here?
I nod with a smile on my face.
Shirley: I'd like you to take me where you shop. I'd like a few items.
I giggle puckering my lips briefly after reapplying my lips stick.
Tabitha: Edgars dear.
Shirley: Yoh girl the prices there are insane.
Tabitha: Not really I actually shop anywhere. Anything nice I grab it.
Shirley: Nice. What's your name?
Shirley: Beautiful name. Tabitha: Thanks.
I strut out confidently and make my way inside.
After church I am ready to go and have lunch alone when Celia Zimu's wife comes to me.
Celia: Look at you.
Tabitha: How are you?
Celia: I miss the double dates we used to have.
I nod. And then? Aphapha nje unexpectedly. Mxm.
Celia: I'm so sorry about your... You know.
I nod again impatiently.
Celia: How was the service? You know what? I never thought I'd see you again. Tabitha: Actually I was invited so I thought I should come by. Zimu approaches us hurriedly as we stand behind my car.
Zimu: Oh Tabitha. How good is it to see you.
Tabitha: I'm so glad to be here.
We hug briefly.
Zimu: I'm excited. It was all evident in his happy countenance.
Tabitha: I'd like to stay longer but I really have to go. Zimu frowns. My phone rings in my bag.
Celia: Please visit again. Your presence is a blessing. I giggle fishing out my phone. Tabitha: You're so silly...
The screen flashes Elijah's name.
I roll my eyes.
Celia looks at me suspiciously.
Tabitha: Look I gotta go. Thank you guys.
They hold hands with piercing smiles as I open my door and answer the phone.
Elijah: T... Mamela ngicela ungahambi I haven't seen you namhlanje.
I roll my eyes. Already I feel neglected by him and I feel like I'm crowding his space. I threw my bag on the passengers seat.
Tabitha: I've already left. Elijah: Oh
His voice inflicts disappointment.
Tabitha: Yeah. Bye. I hang up and get in my car start the ignition and roll out.
My stomach is already grumbling....