Musings 12: The Gathering

I know of a church without a building. With only mats on the bare ground and leaves from trees to protect from the scorching heat of the sun, and nothing for when the rain falls angrily.

The pastor has no special seat, and there are no sanctimonious altars to preach from. Circling around the bowel, with mats spread out and legs stretched to the front, everyone looks up as the teacher teaches from the center of the bowel.

It's offering time, and everyone dances to the big tray in the middle of the gathering to drop their two cents.

I don’t know what to make of this church yet, but there are no dismissal times, only start times, dismissals are as the spirit leads, sometimes earlier, other times later.

The mode of worship is strange I must say, but they call on the name of the son of God and pray for miracles, and they happen, prayers are a little different and their AMEN thunders different.

Something stands out for me though, the camaraderie and bond expressed, quite admirable I must say, not without the few bad seeds, but really heartwarming. Poor members are catered for, and contributions are made for members who run into debt.

Harvest days are their favorite time of the year. With all the harvests brought in and heaped in a large lump, everyone settles down, as some ‘special’ people go on to share the items, back to the people who brought it. And by doing so, a man who comes with a tuber of yam may be going home with a fridge, the woman praying for a child may be going home with baby wears (A significance of a baby incoming, and they come). Until the entire harvest is shared among the congregation.

I bet you have never seen a gathering like this. ‘Saints’ they call themselves, Saints in the garden of Eden. And if you err while carrying out your weekly activities, you go and join the ‘line’ to confess your sins before you come into the bowel to join other saints. If your grievances are so big and the spirit is grieved, you stay put in the ‘Ugiri Tree’, poor tree, already being weighed down by the numerous sinners that bench on it thrice a week.

They’re a different kind of breed. They are not a church they say. They are a gathering.



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