Our Favourite Demon (Part II)

           This is a continuation to the first part of the article. Click the link to read the first part:

To really understand the events that happened next, you need to understand what our Worship Centre looks like. For some reason, I now realise that Worship Centre is a more appropriate name than ‘Church’ which is an extremely misleading term because the Church is not a place. Never has been, never will be…

We have a massive auditorium which had cost us about a billion naira to put together. We had contributed to building this place called a ‘ house of God’, stretched ourselves thin and finally, the edifice was up. I am very proud to say it was the best worship place in town and I was a bit upset when I heard that another congregation had been able to raise more money and were going to build a bigger structure. Well, for now, this would suffice, but if the numbers were done right, we would be able to move to a bigger location in a few years. Now, wouldn’t that make God proud!

The capacity of our auditorium was 5,000 people. We had musical gear that only existed in dreams and the altar was the biggest I had ever seen in my life. It could comfortable take 500 people standing close together with their feet sinking in the posh plush Persian rug that adorned that area. There was a gallery area that was shaped like a semi-circle and which could accommodate about 1500 people, and we all sat facing the altar where the pulpit was stationed.

Right behind the pulpit, was a reminder of why we were gathered here – a massive crucifix flown in from a country I cannot remember at this time, with the figure of the saviour who was in agony as he bled for you and I. The only challenge was that right now, the ‘Saviour’ was looking at me with a big wide grin, his hands extended and pinned down by massive nails, same as his feet. As I watched with widening eyes, he slowly dislodged his legs from the nails, held in place only by his hands. Then right before my eyes, he took out one hand, and then the other, balanced for a split second in mid air, before doing an extremely clean and well executed back flip that sat him right atop of our old rugged cross!

My jaw dropped!

The singing stopped and the congregation, as one, rose to their feet. I knew that we were about to see an explosion of people as panic took over at the sight. You didn’t exactly go for a service and expect to see the statue of Jesus doing gymnastics in the middle of the service. He stayed right there on the cross, perpetually sad, eyes looking to heaven, fingers constantly bent in supplication, immobile… He didn’t move, or smile, or do stuff all around. He stayed still, he stayed immobile, he stayed…dead – at least, on this side of life. The preacher began to speak and I realised the congregation has arisen because the preacher was about to pray and I guess that was when it dawned on me that I was the only person seeing Jesus doing his backflips.

But he wasn’t going to stop at back flips.

The message began and though I could see the preacher, I could hear him less and less. The figure that sat atop the cross with a perpetual grin locked on his face was beginning to really creep me out. He did not move, he did not do anything out of the ordinary, but his gaze on me locked everything out, and then after (I sensed) he got bored with me, that oily gaze began to roam round the room as he watched the service unfold below. As I watched him in eerie fascination, I went through a series of emotion; from shock to wonder, and from wonder to delight and then,  awe – because in a way that is difficult to explain, he was awesome, wonderful…beautiful, like a star in the middle of a darkened night. As I looked at him, I felt inexplicably drawn to him, felt hope begin to well up within me, felt, in a way that is hard to explain, that everything was going to work out for good. Despite the eerie nature of it all, I had to smile, because though I could barely understand why the Saviour was doing gymnastics on the cross, all I could conclude on was that he was wonder, the source of hope, and looking at him now, I understood why he was called The Light that lights up the whole world…

“In retrospect, you are going to really like this part…”, the voice of the Usher who stood right next to me was calm, not mocking, but there was a bit of humour in his voice. Just a tiny weeny bit of humour.

I turned to the Usher to ask what he was talking about but he didn’t have to look at me for me to realise who he was – the Carpenter. Now, I was even more surprised to see he had gotten right next to me so fast, but then realised that unlike all the others in the room, he could see Our Saviour as he sat on the cross. However, it dawned on me, a bit slowly, that the look on his face wasn’t exactly one of delight. It was one of recognition and while he had the wizened eyes of someone who had experienced a lot in  life, right now, the look on his face could best be described as…


It was then I realised what he had said to me earlier, “In retrospect, you are going to really like this part…”

I turned away from the annoying Carpenter to look at Our Saviour, my eyes drawn again into his beauty and his warmth. I felt like hugging him, embracing him, worshipping him, and though I realised that at first a small part of me had been appalled, actually had been irritated by him and his eerie gaze, yet I was beginning to realize that he was full of truth and Light, he was one to be worshipped, his eyes, burning like fire, his hair, radiantly illuminated, his skin, shining with a divine glow, his tongue…

His tongue?

My eyes widened.

His tongue protruded out of his mouth, the longest, greenest, greasiest tongue I had seen in my life, and like the oldest reptile that is said to have spoken to the woman in the Garden of Eden, this tongue was forked – like that of a very large snake.

And then with a snarl that only I could hear, he leapt off the cross with a mighty cry that was a mix of rage, hate and triumph, a shout that made my blood freeze and my lips quiver – right into the crowd below. And it was only when he was about to crash into the robed choristers that stood right below him, that I saw the whipping motion of his barbed, scaly tail…

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