​”Mo gbó; mo yà -the party is paid for!”

On Easter Sunday, Pastor Tolulope Moody of Sycamore Community Church, Ibadan used a common Yoruba saying to illustrate grace and redemption. The talk got me thinking (and writing) and I wanna share my musings from that talk with you. It was a blessing to me and I hope this is to you too. 

It’s a common knowledge in Nigeria that Yoruba people are big about parties. As a Yoruba national, I have realised that we even spend what we don’t have to buy what we cannot actually afford to impress people that don’t care! Funny but true. And that is why on Saturday afternoons, mostly, people don’t go hungry except you do not know how to do “Mo gbó, mo yà”. 
“Mo gbó, mo yà” literally means “I heard, I branched”. 

Picture this: a party is going on somewhere and I happen to catch a whiff of it (music or increased human activities around a particular area easily sends the signals).  So I duck in and have a good time. I don’t care about how the party was put together, so far what and all I need are available. It’s not about me or my money. It’s about the person who’s party it is. So, I get in the party and order every thing I don’t normally get to eat in my house. All because someone already paid for everything. All I need to do is attend the wedding party and order what I want. 

C’est fini! 

This is the story of grace and redemption! Grace is not about me, you or anyone else but about Jesus; who’s party it is. Psalm 36:6-10 describes the feast made by God and the fact that of its delight. The stories of our lives don’t even matter. In fact, what we did to get to the party does not matter; it’s just about the fact that the man who threw the party has made it available and so, made it available for us to  dig in. (See also Psalm 5:11)

Redemption is about His grace and provision. His grace forgives our sin; breaks its power and raises us to live righteously. (1Pet2:24)

This  grace teaches us how to really live. He doesn’t just say : ‘don’t worry about the penalty’ but He teaches how to live above what can make you worry about the penalty. “That grace instructs us to give up ungodly  living and worldly passions  and to live self controlled upright and godly lives in this world” (Titus 2:12 GNB) It’s really a complete package. 

Tolulope Moody said “freedom is actually a bondage to the right authority”. And I have come to see that submitting to Jesus is my bondage to Him. Grace places a responsibility and once it is recieved it should stir up something within to be a channel of His grace to others too. We do not live anyhow under grace because a higher responsibility is required to live a better life. We should not live stupidly and nonchalantly. Even if ‘everyone is doing it’ every one is not! 

Grace is a supply to do what God expects in us. And He keeps supplying more. God gives more grace. The party is paid “So,  let’s walk up to Him and get what He is so ready to give” -Hebrew 4:16(MSG) And in doing this, let us remember that grace is given to the humble. God, by default stands against the proud. “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble”-1Pet 5:5(NIV)

I personally have further discovered after that time at Sycamore that asking for more allows you have more. So, don’t stop asking because the party is paid for! 

Good Friday, all for Me! 

I like to think sometimes that all that happened that fateful day was all for me!

Jesus was born and we celebrate Christmas. But he didn’t stop there, He went the extra mile and He died for me. 

He stayed on the cross not just because he was nailed to it. He stayed because He loved me, and sometimes I want to believe, he did that for me alone. 

And so,  when I know this, that someone gave all,  even his life for me, I know He will not withhold anything from me,  even his very Life: Eternal Life. 

And so,  sometimes I just want to think it was just done,  all for me!

Conversations with Jeff

My visit to Ketu had met with several postponements but I succeeded in driving over last Friday. Oyin, my college buddy, and her husband, Sola had not failed to mention that I was sorely missed and Jeff, their little boy would love to have some time with me.

Jeff!
Since we met a few days after he was born, Jeff soundly commanded a great deal of my love. As I held him in my hands and hummed Newsboys’ Something Beautiful to him, it felt as a great part of me was laid there in my arms licking his small lips momentarily and just succeeding at being beautiful!

As I walked into their house and saw Jeff in his walker, punching the keys that played the various pre-recorded songs, I could not but smile.

“He’s grown so much since I saw him,” I told his mum as I picked him up. We, Jeff and I, started to talk. He mumbled and cooed. I smiled and arched my brows, replied and … we just talked! He showed me all the cool things he could do with his hands and his mouth. I could not help the burst of emotions that overtook me. He was so perfect. So, I told him “You’re so beautiful.”

I have come to believe that the knowledge of the scripture and the Word of God about anyone anywhere is what affects, charts and makes a way for any individual. And as the Psalmist says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), the reality of this should be drilled into anyone, even from birth, subtly and deliberately too so that that will form a foundation for how he sees himself from God’s point of view in His word. So, telling my child, as I told Jeff, he was beautiful was the first step in that.

As I mused over this, he grabbed my chin, pulled at my beard and I understood further that even though the kid was born to a family, he was the Lord’s. Children are the heritage of the Lord. He owns them even though they will bear our names and live with us; they are actually the Lord’s. The earlier I know this the better and the best for the child to know that he was in the hands of the Lord even if he will be considered my child.

I would definitely tell my child that he is the Lord’s. He is not mine, his mother’s or anyone’s. He is for God.  (Psalm 127:3-5) He would be in my care but the person who actually has him was God. God says all my children are his reward. So, all he will need will be provided for at the time they will be needed. I would tell him not to look up to me to provide everything (even though I would do my best to) but look up to God even from his very tender age. God is his Father much more than I am!

That night as I drove home, I kept going over the things I would love to tell my future children and the list had grown longer. But apart from the two I already said, I would also love to tell him to take an obvious step against the archenemy of faith: fear. Even though that seems to be the default reaction to life, God has not given us that spirit (Rom 8:15). He has rather given him the spirit of power, love and sound mind (2Tim 1:7). God’s word states in simple terms “do not fear”. This instruction is repeated severally throughout the scripture and this just proves the fact that fear will always come and he would have to always decide not to.

It is amazing how God deals with us. He has so many forms of relationships with us and a very salient form is that of a father and a child. I’m home and as I listen to O’Tunmise Ajani’s  Jolly (Safe in His hands), I realize that the safest place to be is in the hands of the capable Father!

Waiting

Rays of the rising sun had entered the room caressing my body into consciousness. The gown I wore clung to me as I struggled to rise; it was morning.

“I’ll pick you up by seven,” he’d said, his lips thick and eyes bright. But as I stared at the opera tickets on the nightstand, a lump caught in my throat; a perfidious punch hitting me. He had not, come and I had fallen asleep waiting for him.

The day dragged on but was soon over and I just sat watching as rays of the setting sun bathed the dark room.

Eagle

I only went to church as an obligation.

I sat in my stiff white shirt and stroked the black tie Mama insisted I wore, “It’s the Lord’s day, you have to look your best,” she’d said placing the tie on my left shoulder. She’d always found time to wash my clothes, starch them and make sure I was well dressed. At twenty-two, I owed my clean appearance to her.

As the choir sang the Sunday anthem, it kicked in: I’d had a long week. My work-season was at its peak and I had struggled to meet all my deadlines for the week. Just as I dozed to that feeling, I could feel Mama looking at me. So, for her, I struggled to stay awake.

But my eyelids were so heavy; it was a tug of war. I lost and I surrendered sweetly to a warm spiraling snooze determined to hear all that was being said by the preacher.

As I went down into a helix of grey, bouncing up and about the walls of what looked like a brown snail shell filled with mountains and rivers. I was sure I saw an eagle, but did I?

I never ceased to hear the preacher’s voice. As the fall twisted me further down, I could hold on to the preacher’s words still.

“soar…heights…mountains…wisdom…surrender”.

The desperation for safety overtook me as I saw a hand. It reached out to me and made to grab me. I decided to reach out and hold on for dear life and I did.

And…

I woke with a start, hearing the preacher preach with so much fervor. He was sweating and talking rapidly and I heard him say, “Your sons will rise like the soaring eagle and raise your doting pigeon.” Or did I not hear?

“Amen,” Mama chorused with the others, maybe I heard. My mind was quite fuzzy even though I feigned alertness.

As we drove home, Mama, after mentioning my doze, muttered to herself, “eagles and pigeons.” Maybe I did hear some things, right? But in my attempt to tell her I still caught some of what was said, I replied “Well at least I’m not referenced in that prophecy by way of a pigeon metaphor.”

“Yes, darling, you’re the eagle,” Mama always had a good come back, I must agree even though, as I would later know, the preacher was not prophesying or relating a prophecy. But her words always hit home and they did, once more.

As Mama’s words found their way into my thoughts, I turned into our street and sighed. Maybe it was time I turned myself around and saw what was obvious all along: as much as I professed nonchalance to God, He had never resigned from the business of looking out for me and making me soar above all. After all, I was the eagle!

Flash Fiction