Some years ago in Abuja, I attended COZA. The service was going well. Good sermon, fantastic praise and worship – service was just perfect.
So it happened that when the offering basket was going round (I had tucked in a very generous amount of my money into the envelope handed to me by the usher at the church entrance), the pastor’s wife took the mic and began her hate speech.
“Abuja is for Jesus!” she screamed into the mic.
“Amen!” the congregation roared.
“Evil will not prevail in Jesus name!” she yelled.
“AMEN!!!” the congregation roared once more.
“And you lesbians – we are coming for you. We will chase you out of this city. In the name of JEEEEESSUUUUUUUSSSS!!!” she screamed, frantic in her hate.
In response, members of the congregation began hitting their bibles while simultaneously chanting, “NO! NO! NO! NO!” (A COZA traditional action whenever an abomination is mentioned).
“And where are they supposed to go?” I blurted out loudly.
The lady in front of me turned her head to look at me. The man beside me began to giggle as he muttered, “Bros, I tire o.”
Quickly spotting the usher who took my offering (she still had the basket with her), I gestured for her attention. When she drew close to me, I told her I forgot something in my envelope. I knew my envelope because I’d scribbled some bible passages on it idly.
Feeling convinced, she handed me my envelope and stood aside, waiting. I took out my very-plenty naira notes from the envelope and dropped it back empty into the basket.
“That will be all,” I said to her with a smile.
She stared at me, dumbfounded. I didn’t bother to look at her face any more. The guy beside me and the woman on my other side stared at me too with frank disbelief.
I didn’t stand to receive any blessing. I didn’t need it. And that Sunday was the last I worshipped there.
Written by Joe Alex