Read the first part here.
The service to Charlotte’s singing debut ended with the head pastor acknowledging the choir’s wonderful ministration.
“Who else thinks that the choir sang exceptionally well today? Please applaud them!” The congregation came alive with cheers.
“And I can see some new faces. Indeed, God is doing a new thing in this church. God bless those who have chosen to use their talents to serve in His house. Turn and ask your neighbor, ‘what are you serving God with in His house?’”
Charlotte was busily fanning her face. She couldn’t afford her makeup messing up now. She noticed some of the members glancing at her and nodding approvingly. She smiled and nodded back. This was her moment and she was going to revel in it.
“You sang really well today,” Frank complimented after the service ended.
“Thank you, Frank. I really feel fulfilled. I didn’t know there was so much contentment in serving in church.” “Indeed, that is why it is written that one day in God’s presence is better than a thousand elsewhere.”
“Indeed…the Bible doesn’t lie.”
“Using our gifts in serving God is more rewarding than the temporary applause the world gives to secular artistes.” Charlotte smiled in reply. She struggled to agree with that philosophy. The reward of being clapped for only occurs during services but the artistes enjoy acknowledgment every single day. Thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram and the elation of having fans requesting to take selfies with you…
“Huh?” “I thought I lost you.”
“No, you didn’t. I was pondering over your words.” Frank nodded.
“Deep words, huh?” Was he patting himself on the back?
The choir was doing some vocal warm ups during a rehearsal when a lady strode in. Frank turned.
“Hey…Sandy’s back!” Charlotte heard Comfort and a few ladies groan. Who was she, she wondered.
“Charlotte, meet Sandra. She is one of best vocalists. She went away for a while to school and now she’s back. I’m sure the two of you with your powers combined would make us a formidable force in this church. Sandra, meet Charlotte. She only joined us a few weeks ago.”
“Hello.” They stared at each other. Was she going to be her competition?
Thankfully, Sandra sang soprano which meant she wouldn’t have to stand next to the awful, perpetual off-key singing Comfort. And Sandra was good. No, more than good. She was amazing. She had a strong voice with impressive breath control. Gosh, was she feeling intimidated? No, she wouldn’t allow it.
As if the lady next to her could read her thoughts, she said to her, “She’s good, isn’t she? I guess your five minutes of fame has run out…” Charlotte rolled her eyes away. Well, how did the saying go? If you can’t beat them, join them, right? She stood a better chance if she and Sandra became ‘partners.’
After rehearsal, they got talking and like a spark, they just connected. Birds of a feather really did flock together. The others were surprised how quickly they bonded. They looked like old friends reunited. They stared at each other. They knew their chances of migrating from the backup singers association were totally ruined. They were excited when Sandra left for school and Comfort reigned a while. Then Charlotte showed up and now Sandy was back.
Comfort was clearly unhappy when Frank announced that Sandra and Charlotte would frontline Sunday’s ministration. When the meeting closed, Comfort approached Frank.
“How could let those two be the front line singers? You know Sunday starts the revival program. How could two unspiritual singers lead? The choir is supposed to usher in God’s presence. With these two, God will definitely not show up!”
“What makes you think they are unspiritual? Is it because they dress better than you? Sister Comfort, you’re being carnal. Pray it out before it consumes you,” Frank said.
“Were you expecting him to say anything different? You know he likes Sandy. When he sees her, the Spirit just departs from him. God have mercy!” The others said when Comfort relayed his words to them.
On Sunday, Charlotte and Sandra wore white blouses with African print skirts, black heels and wavy long hair extensions to match. The others had worn African print dresses and they looked ordinary compared to the two.
“But we decided on dresses. Why are they wearing skirts? It’s even above the knee!”
“No, we decided on African print. You wore your dress because that’s what you have. Don’t make a big deal out of it. If only you were being objective, you’ll admit that they are looking smart.” “Smart? This is the house of God! How could they wear party skirts to church?” “Mind your own business, Comfort,” Sandra said sternly and she immediately shut up.
When it was time for the ministration, the duo didn’t disappoint. More people came forward to drop money into the offering bowl as they sang and danced to the song. The pastor even stood up and attempted to dance, moving his waist from side to side, waving his handkerchief in the air.
When it ended, the whole church was on its feet, clapping and cheering. Charlotte and Sandra smiled at each other. They had succeeded in rocking the stage.
After service, Frank bought the two some chips, chicken thighs and a Coke each. Charlotte called out to Sandra to harmonize with her on a song whiles the pianist and drummer worked on how to get in tune with them.
“Show off,” Comfort said scornfully.
“I’d rather make my boast in the Lord than be jealous. Haven’t you read the story of David’s wife who was embarrassed by his dancing?” Frank asked. Comfort scowled.
“What happened to her?” Sandra asked Charlotte.
“Why are you asking me? You’re more spiritus than I am.” They laughed.
“So what song do you suggest next week? A song the congregation is familiar with and so can sing along,” Frank said. Comfort mentioned an old local song and a hymn. The others nodded.
“Those songs belong to the early church. There isn’t much you can do with your voice when singing that song. Let’s go with something more contemporary,” Charlotte said. Sandra nodded.
“The old ones are the powerful ones. They were inspired by the Holy Spirit; not these new adulterated ones. Besides, the church loves the hymns.”
“The church will love any good music sang well and not bombarded with off-keys and screaming.”
“You better watch your…”
“Enough. We’re still in God’s presence.” “How I wish God would strike someone here…”
“God strike you first!”
And on and on it went. Frank had to close the meeting before time. He said he would come up with a song himself. Sandra smiled. She knew she had the power to influence his final decision. Charlotte knew this and she was going to leave it in her able hands.
On the last Sunday of the revival program, a preacher from another church had been invited to minister. Before he started his sermon, he raised a worship song and Sandy signaled to Charlotte to get up so they walk on stage to sing. The others also got up and went on to the podium.
The preacher began laying hands on some of the members. Some of them, mostly women, would either scream or fall. Interesting, Charlotte thought. She wondered if all these reactions were real. She gently patted her face with her handkerchief.
All of a sudden, she heard a shriek behind her. It was Comfort. She was speaking in tongues and shaking. Two of the guys held her. Charlotte raised a brow. Seriously, you? Can your carnal being even recognize the Holy Spirit? What a drama queen.
The voice in her head shut up the instant the preacher turned his head and their eyes met. She swallowed. Had he heard her thoughts? How can that be possible? She knew God could reveal personal details to men of God but as for this one…
Her eyes widened when he started walking towards her.
Oh no…he wasn’t going to lay his hands on her, right? The dress she was wearing was not to be washed. And the length of her dress wasn’t favorable for any church theatrics. The preacher pointed a finger at her.
“You…” God, don’t let it be me, she prayed. She wasn’t going to fall. Not today. She hoped he wasn’t the type who pushed down on the forehead to ‘force’ the anointing. But she would stand her ground. Ei, that would come off as a resistant evil spirt in her and the prayers would increase. Gosh, she hated moments like this. So what was she going to do?
© Josephine Amoako 2016
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