“Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness” – Marshall McLuhan
“Order is heaven’s first law” – Alexander Pope
Disclaimer: Coming from someone who once wrote Sermons: What’s the Point, this may sound a wee bit strange but my slippery tongue and adventurous mind sometimes get the better of me. This is just a reflection of some of the scenes that have run through my mind recently. Much of it is, of course, my own interpretation!
Warning: All characters are STRICTLY *elephant yinmu* fictional. Any perceived semblance is inadvertent!
So, the year is 1900 and a tiny seemingly insignificant kid is born in a bullshit environment (literally). His birth is as ordinary as anything that meets the eye, except they claimed his parents never did the do! So he’s a divine kid? We’ll see about that!
Well, in growing up, he wasn’t quite different from most of the hood kids. His pops didn’t have guns, weed or women lying about, so he did the best he could to help out at his dad’s carpentry outfit. He must have heaved a ton or two there, as he would later carry a very heavy wooden log for a fairly long “walk of fame”. Most of the hood kids didn’t care much for his real name; “Jay” was just too easy to yell. So, they’d typically stand on the front porch and shout “What it do, Jay? We storming Betty’s gig tonight! You riding or what?” or “Sup, Jay? The skateboard contest’s tomorrow and ‘Big Will’ be throwing down some mega bucks! You in?”. Jay, however, always seemed pre-occupied with other things. He’d fix their squeaky skateboard wheels alright – most times, even for free – but, he just could never spare the time to actually “ride” with them. There was always just something else on his mind. If he wasn’t studying ancient laws and prophesies, he was debating scholars and custodians of the law.
Jay was so stuck in his ways that, one day, after their annual carnival, he sneaked out of his parents company to kick-start another debate with the scholars. And, though he was aged just twelve at the time, by the time his parents found him, he was winning. My guess is that his parents were extremely delighted with the score-line, though he didn’t escape a scolding for going AWOL.
Apparently, Jay had a ‘weirdo’ of a cousin, named Jonny, who was popular for doing the crazy! I mean, honey’s good, but how does one form a staple meal of honey and locusts? Even his dressing was off; wearing fur may have got activists yelling, but animal skin? That was just gross. In short, the average person would much rather roll with Jonny Depp than Jonny Weird! Still, the dude couldn’t be bothered. He just went about his business with as little courtesy as he could spare. He seemed to have a heightened aversion for the norms of his day and he was quite vocal about his dislikes.
In spite of how close Jay and Jonny were by bloodline, they were not to meet until around March, 1930. By that time, Jay had gathered so large a followership that his older cousin was in awe of him. Still, Jay wanted Jonny to perform the cleansing rites on him. Jonny and Jay had both claimed to be messengers on a divine assignment and the cleansing rite (codenamed “baptism”) was an open show of acceptance – of them and their message. Jonny had been dipping as many as wanted to reconcile with God in water but hesitated greatly in taking Jay on. His scruples were well-founded; seeing as his crowd and insight were no match for Jay’s. Still, at Jay’s insistence, the crude man dipped his younger cousin in the pond and brought him back up in the sight of all. Something unprecedented, however, happened as he did that: a cute dove (from nowhere) landed on Jay’s head while a thunderous voice (also from nowhere) endorsed Jay as being heaven-sent!
If the crowd needed any evidence of his divinity, it had just been supplied them. Apparently, many had heard Jay’s claims of being on divine assignment and had taken quite some interest in him. Many were so keen that they followed him about in their spare time. #Jay soon became a hot trending topic on many of their social networks. In fact, a member of that privileged crowd had just typed “live at the scene. weirdo dips #jay in dirty pool” and was trying to do a ‘twitpic’ when they heard the voice! The people were scared stiff as awe raced through their bones. From that point on, many of their remarks about Jay lost the usual air of sarcasm they had been known for. One way or another, the world just wouldn’t stop talking about Jay!
Truth is: if jay was trending at number 42 before his “baptism”, the next few months would see him seize the number 1 berth! If he wasn’t healing sick folks or raising dead people, he was picking naira notes from inside fishes to pay tax! While the ‘sages’ tried to unravel those mysteries, he was feeding about five thousand ‘area boys’ with five loaves of agege bread. It was no longer hard to believe that he was God’s own messenger. What few found incredible, however, were his claims of being God himself! He would later supply irrefutable proof sometime around June 1933. There was, however, still a lot of jaw-dropping to be done before then.
One Sunday afternoon in 1932, at the heat of the dry season, Jay was taking a “random” stroll and decided to branch off at the wackiest pool in town. The joint was a popular rendezvous for low-lives, misfits and wannabes who just didn’t (and couldn’t) belong anywhere else. They all gathered around a mysterious pool called Bethsaida, in hopes of a brighter future. You see, an angel always stirred the pool once every year and the first man to jump in got cured of whatever ailment beset him. Many had gone from the misery of Bethsaida to affluence and fame, but as its reputation spread, the competition got keener. Many of the hopefuls even got family members to help toss them in but after failing a few times, the care-givers soon despaired and left. The ambient stench didn’t do much to endear them either. Consequently, the general atmosphere around the pool was –to be modest – one of misery and depression!
Bethsaida offered hope to many. However, there was one ugly truth that many of the fortune-seekers simply refused to see. Most of the people only saw the healing that Bethsaida offered; they didn’t see the cost. It was no shallow pool and only the first got cured! Whatever happened to the others? So, the pool might make you whole – but it may also take your life? The stakes were raised – even for the able-bodied. Still, when jay walked in, and on seeing a paralyzed man lying pool-side, he played a little game. He asked by-standers for the man’s story (as if he didn’t already know) and proceeded to ask history’s dumbest question EVER!
Jay had claimed to be God (and with evidence too); meaning, it was he who sent the angel to stir the water once a year, meaning that he knew all things, meaning that for 38 good years, he watched that man’s hopes sky-rocket and then plunge! So, when he asked the man if he wanted to get well, even he couldn’t have expected the reply he got. I would have thought the man would yell out a deafening “yes” but he didn’t. Instead, he began to tearfully narrate his story, lamenting over how things had once been rosy, how his trusted buddies had despaired and abandoned him, how his wife had gotten married to somebody else! Sometimes, a listening ear means more to people than hopes of a solution. The man must have thought that was one of those days; how wrong he was!
Jay left him finish his sorrowful “sermon” and then healed him. Don’t forget it was a Sunday; jay wasn’t supposed to do any work. He of all people should have known that! And, considering his twitter followership, it was bound to make headlines! Still, maybe helping others shouldn’t be called work! Or, maybe bending the rules to give warmth to an ailing heart isn’t a crime afterall! The man was up leaping and dancing galantakosa (galala + alanta + makosa = ……) to a hymn in no time. He hadn’t been able to move any joint in his body other than his jaws for 38 years! Of course, unlike what’s popular today, by the time the man turned round to thank Jay, he was long gone. If only we can learn to, sometimes, walk away from taking credit – even when we deserve it!
So, for 6 good years before Jay came down, he watched this man wallow in misery. As if that wasn’t long enough, he added another 32 for his self-esteem to reach rock-bottom. He, all the while, sent the angel to stir the water, knowing for certain that the man would never make it in. And then, when it was more than obvious that the man was hopeless; when the man had resigned himself to a future of raised and dashed hopes; when his crying had become so commonplace that it moved nobody, hope came gliding towards him – QUIETLY! Jay didn’t have to pass through the pool; in fact, looking back now, its obvious that he went there just for that man!
The plan may not be obvious, but take solace in the fact that it exists. Someone somewhere has got your life on a big screen, waiting for the perfect cue to make that much-needed guest appearance!