This series is dedicated to all choristers who are serving in God’s house with all of their heart and strength. Your ministrations have helped and comforted many. Don’t give up when it gets tough. Just keep going in the might of the Lord. May I get an amen?
Read part 6 here.
The musical service which was slated for the coming Sunday was postponed to accommodate one of the head pastor’s colleagues who had come down from the UK. His sermon and style of preaching was a fresh sound in the ears and one could tell by the response of the congregation to the pastor’s words. The energetic ‘Amen!’ ‘You’re preaching!’ ‘God bless you’ with enthusiastic claps was a reaction which had been on the low for some time.
Charlotte wondered what was going through her pastor’s mind as he sat coolly watching his colleague ‘wooing’ his church folks with the Word. Many people got up from their seats to drop money into the offering bowl after catching the ‘rhema.’ Even the choir ministered with a fresh ‘anointing’; and those known to never get up from their seats to dance but would rather fold their arms and nod their heads and tap their feet were standing, dancing and singing along. Did he feel jealous of his friend’s unique charisma? Did he feel betrayed by his congregation for showing more interest in a visitor’s sermon than his? Maybe not. He’s a man of God after all, right? Ministers were matured than the likes of her who were petty enough to entertain such negative emotions but one would never know the thoughts of the unassuming man, minister or member.
The visiting pastor left after leading a short prayer session when he was done preaching. After the offertory and announcements, the head pastor walked to the pulpit to say the closing prayer and share the grace but he had some few words to share first.
“It is indeed true that a prophet is not honored in his hometown. The same thing happened to Jesus and that is why the Bible records that He didn’t do many miracles there due to the people’s unbelief. If only you’d honor me as God’s chosen vessel, God will demonstrate His power in this church. I will soon start a sermon series titled ‘Why you should honor your leader…”
Sandra drew close to Charlotte and whispered in her ear, “Jealous much?” Charlotte stifled a chuckle.
After service, Frank announced that there would be no rehearsals. He needed them to rest since intensive rehearsals would resume the next day. Charlotte sighed thankfully. She needed the rest.
On Tuesday, Frank posted on the choir’s WhatsApp group page that Sandra had fallen ill and was being admitted at a hospital. How could that happen? She was perfectly fine on Sunday, Charlotte thought worriedly. After work, she went to the hospital to visit her dear friend.
Charlotte couldn’t hold back her tears when she noticed that Sandra had lost her voice. She seemed very weak. How could she fall ill at this time? She couldn’t see herself holding the fort for the entire musical service. Well she could but she didn’t want to. She had grown to see Sandra as her other half. Their vocal harmony has come to sync with their budding friendship and Sunday was going to be a big day for both of them. Sandra touched her hair. Charlotte looked up at her with red eyes.
“Don’t cry; I’ll get well soon,” Sandra said faintly. A nurse came in with Frank followed by Comfort, Ama, James and a few other choir members. Sandra smiled.
“Here comes my family,” she tried to say aloud.
“How are you feeling?” Comfort asked, holding Sandra’s other hand. Sandra nodded.
“I had planned to come alone but Comfort suggested that we all come to show how much we care. We have a big event ahead of us and we need you to be on the podium with us.” “I’m not feeling well…I don’t think I’d recover in time for Sunday’s program,” Sandra said in her hoarse voice.
“Don’t say that. Nothing is too hard for God to do. We believe that if we join hands and pray in faith, you will be healed. Do you believe that?” Comfort asked Sandra.
“I believe,” Sandra said, tears running down her face. Comfort smiled and squeezed her hand.
Charlotte was deeply touched by their presence. She had always seen the choir as some group she had joined but no real connection with apart from Sandra. But she was wrong. Sandra was right in calling it a family.
“Shall we pray?” Comfort said. They all held hands around her bed. Ama raised a song and they all began to sing. The song came out harmoniously and full of heartfelt emotion. Comfort prayed and at the end, it was Charlotte who was crying. Comfort hugged her and rocked her till she stopped sobbing.
“She’ll get well soon.”
And well she became. Sandra got discharged two days later. On their last rehearsal on Friday night, they sang almost perfectly. The few lapses were met with playful teases and warm laughter unlike the usual spiteful remarks. Everyone felt at home singing so the harmony came out naturally. Brotherly love was in the air.
Frank looked really pleased with himself.
“Okay, before we leave for the night, let’s decide on who would be leading the worship and praises. Sandra, would you want to…?” “I think Comfort should handle the worship,” Sandra said, shocking everyone. She shrugged.
“She has the passion to worship so she should do it. What do you say, Comfort?” Sandra asked, turning to look at her.
“But my voice…” “Don’t worry; Charlotte and I have got your back. Whenever you’re losing it, we will be right there at your rescue,” she assured her, glancing at Charlotte who hadn’t recovered from the shock yet.
“Sure. Ever at your back up service.” Sandra chuckled.
“Great…and praises?” Sandra and Charlotte stared at each other and with an unspoken exchange, they smiled.
“Ama,” they both said.
“You up for it?” Frank asked. She nodded eagerly.
“Great…so Charlotte and James with one duet, Sandra and I with another, you two with a couple…I think we’re good to go. Anyone has any concerns?” Everyone shook their heads. He nodded.
“Let’s go through the songs one more time, shall we?”
After the rehearsal, Sandra walked up to Comfort. She hugged her before Comfort could say anything.
“Thank you for coming to visit me at the hospital and praying for me. I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for your prayers,” Sandra said gratefully.
“We thank God for your healing. And I’m glad that I can count on you on Sunday.” “We’re all vessels of one ministry. You fall, I help you get up and vice versa.” Comfort smiled.
Charlotte watched them, feeling so impressed and proud of Sandra. She was amazed at the change of heart and atmosphere in the room. The selfish competitive spirit was gone and in its place was a heart of love and fellowship. Thank you Lord for working on us, she prayed wordlessly.
“What are you smiling about?” Sandra asked as she walked towards her.
“I’m just happy that you’re back. It wouldn’t have felt the same without you.” “Ha! I can still picture you crying your eyes out at the hospital. What were you scared of?” “I didn’t want to stand on stage alone…without you. I could sing but I didn’t want to.” “Awww….ain’t that sweet? I’m glad I’m back too. Can’t wait to rock the stage, can you?” Charlotte chuckled.
Sunday’s service was an extraordinary one. Comfort’s worship session was powerful and Ama’s praises’ time was uplifting. A couple of times, Comfort turned to look at Sandra who winked at her and then stepped in so Comfort could get the time to find her voice range again. No one tried to outdo the other; everyone sang to his or her best ability but in harmony. And their dance was equally delightful to watch. And it was glorious.
Comfort did the altar call before their last ministration. The end of the song was met with a standing ovation with a loud applause. Charlotte and Sandra held hands and the others followed suit. They bowed their heads in appreciation.
Charlotte smiled. This was what it should feel to minister. This was a new beginning. And she was ready to start afresh and do things the right way; not to perform for personal glory but for God’s.
“So help me God.”
© Josephine Amoako 2017
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