My 21st birthday anniversary is in a couple of month’s time, to that end I have decided to start taking my fitness a little more seriously. Sit-ups, press-ups, lunges, and two hour walks.
For the first two days, I stuck to this regime, until I felt all the muscles in my body start to give.
Day three, my stomach muscles felt like someone was pulling them end to end and hammering tunelessly at them.
So I dropped the sit-ups, I figured my stomach was flat and taut enough.
On day four, I had to ditch the lunges. The muscles in my thighs finally gave, all that tugging and pulling to get toned legs wasn’t worth it, besides who needs exercises when you do not have a car?
I do not.
So seven days later I am down to the walks alone.
Let’s see how long that’s going to last.
Having said that. Something has been bugging me for the past couple of weeks. I cannot seem able to bring myself to go to church. Hush now, do not start judging yet. Listen.
Every Sunday morning I wake up bright and early with the best of intentions. I clean the house and take up my post just outside the gate. Soaking in the sun... that is what I tell people, when really it is just an excuse to stand and stare at people.
The Gumbo’s from across the street leave for church before everyone else in the neighbourhood leaves the house. They are in the Salvation Army.
But they don’t leave all at once. First goes the son, he is nine and then the two daughters, thirty minutes later, mum leaves. Mr Gumbo does not go with them. Every Saturday afternoon he drinks himself into a stupor and does not wake up until the next Monday.
Bless Mrs Gumbo for staying with him. You should know that their house is right at the end of the street, packed in between two bigger houses. How all five of them stay together in that house is beyond me. Bless Mrs. Gumbo for staying.
After the Gumbos comes Madzibaba Astriledge, he is an apostle/prophet/headman/guru and whatever other odd title you want to place on him. He will take them all. He seems to glide down the street, his long white robes billow behind him, and his almost two metre long wooden stick always manages to stay at least an inch above ground.
His baldhead waves and winks in the morning sun, and I find men with baldheads fascinating.
When he sees me, he starts smiling from at least three houses away.
A toothless smile that has flies and other little critters flying in and out of his mouth (I believe I saw some doing that the other day). And his cheeks puff out, black and shiny from Vaseline like he is hiding little clouds in his mouth.
He does not say anything to me though.
Merely waves and tucks back his toothless gums in his mouth. I somehow think that perhaps the smile he gives me is contrived.
Next, comes the woman from my church. If you still yourself
(that includes your heart), you can feel
the little ripples in the earth with each step she takes. Her hips fight for
each lunge, to the right, to the left, in a mountainous motion that has your
mouth open a little and little drips of saliva dripping out.
Her skirt flits and stops, flits and stops. The moment I see her rounding the corner I know it is time to dash inside and get ready for church.
But I don’t.
I stand there mesmerised (well that's not entirely true), by her and the couple that follows, the little boy on his way home with a loaf of bread. The little girls getting ready to start playing in the street.
And the excuses swelling in my head, and then exploding into a million others in my head.
The biggest and possibly the most dangerous is that I say to myself in a voice so sage I could, in that moment, be a guru,
“You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”
I never admit that I am wrong because if I were, I would know but bottom line, LIES ALL LIES!!
Why do I have to go to church?
The answer to the question, “Why do I have to go to church?” is fourfold:
1. It is in the fellowship of the church where we find Jesus Christ.
2. It is in the fellowship of the church where we find protection from the demonic forces of evil and sin in this world.
3. It is in the fellowship of the church where we find encouragement in life.
4. It is in the fellowship of the church where we become Jesus Christ to the world.
For the reason that I believe Jesus Christ died for me, for that reason alone. I am ditching my crowd watching, people profiling nonsensical Sunday morning activities. Spending Sundays watching TBN is really not the same as the beauty of fellowshipping in Jesus Christ.