Noel (Part 1)

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It was that voice again. Dino turned uncomfortably in his bed. The discomfort climbed from the physical disturbance of his early morning sleep to a sharp tug at his conscience, as the naked and spent Sheila lay spread-eagled beside him, breathing peacefully like she was born last week. He remembered his last words to his wife the previous evening as the voice from far in the street, authoritative and piercing, sliced through the quiet early morning air.

‘I am going for a marathon meeting and won’t be coming back tonight.’ 5.am. That same voice again. Shola knew he could not complain in conscience that he was justifiably rattled by that voice, even though something loud in him wanted to. He knew he needed that voice, wanted it as a matter of fact, yet his sleep-reddened eyes managed to give way to a frowned face.

He sat upright, knowing fully well that his phone would beep soon: the alert for payment for the sale of the Toyota Camry he had snatched at ‘gun’ point at Ojagu Estate would soon hit his account. Some houses away, Gina was only too glad to hear the ping of the alarm clock. 5.am. She rushed to her vantage position from where she could not only hear the voice in its smoothness and masculinity, but also to feast her eyes on its owner.

‘Sin is unbelief, sin is not stealing or lying or cheating or fornication or murder. It is because we do not believe in what God stands for or what He represents, hence the idea of disregarding His word and annoying Him. For the same reason, God will not punish a man for being a sinner, because He knows we are sinners by inheritance, but He will punish for wilfully rejecting the remedy to being a sinner. The Bible says that God loved the world that He offered His only begotten son, so that whosoever believes will not perish.

Friends, the idea of perishing is not something to be wished on your worst enemy. This is the peak of the summer, and you know how hot the sun can get, capable of causing skin cancer. But that is a tip of the iceberg compared to the lake of fire. Friends, there is one option left. Believe God, and accept the sacrifice made for you and me, and do it the Bible way, not the way you feel or choose. God cannot call something an abomination and you wilfully do it, laying claim to grace. Treat sin as God calls it…..’

The voice boomed, seizing the morning air and reverberating the perimeter of the neighbourhood. In each of the one hundred and fifty houses that made up the Oki district, no one had the moral right to complain of disturbance of public peace, on the account of that voice. What that voice issued out was arresting, captivating, and convicting, and not in any way like what they were used to hearing from other people, the entire thirty minutes it lasted, before it faded away and was being subsumed by the sounds of a beginning day.

Today’s was different. Gina jumped from her bed like her life depended on it, and dashed to the window on the third floor of one of the three blocks of flats which the voice was holding siege. The voice drew closer and closer, and as an answer to prayers powered by expectation, soon the voice and its owner drew closer until she could thankfully make out physical features under the street lamp just by her flat, and she could match sight with sound.

She was awestruck, in a very pleasant way. She had expected this kind of early morning evangelism to be the exclusive preserve of the unfortunates of life, the elderly, and people of such ilk. But what met her eyes, under the halo of that street lamp, convinced her of the fact that her reasoning was of the most obsolete kind. He had a hair whose neat wavy form danced and sparkled under the light, well defined hairline and razor-thin side burns which snaked down to his jaw, in a look that spoke volumes of a recent visit to a professional stylist.

The hand which bore the megaphone donned a shiny wrist watch whose make she could only guess, and his general appearance reeked well being, youthfulness, and handsomeness in its profound definitions. To cap it all, what was coming through that instrument was strange and sweet, and was nothing like the prosperity gospels and motivational rhymes which was wont to precede countless calls for offerings in her church.

‘Gina, I can’t come to your house today’, Noel whispered, hardly meeting her eyes. ‘Why?’ Gina retorted, lifting his face to drink in his features, for the ninth time that hour. ‘I thought I could squeeze out time immediately from work to say hello to you like I promised, but I remembered we have communion service late in the evening, and by the time we are through I trust you will be way gone into dreamland.’ ‘I will wait up for you. Just give me a call.’

‘You want those trigger-happy security men to shoot me, asking to gain entrance into your neighbourhood by 11pm? What will I tell God?’ ‘Okay, I will join you to church. Come pick me up when you are back from work.’ ‘But you said we preach too hard and long and we condemn a lot of unnecessary things. Can you handle what you may hear, that you may not like?’ Noel gathered steam and peeked at her face, hopeful. He believed this would do the trick.

‘Just give me a call.’ She sashayed out of the eatery, leaving Noel distraught. Noel, beside himself with frustration, watched with lost eyes the receding figure of Gina. He hated making promises he could not keep, but he knew he would have to sin on this one.

To be continued…

Written by: Henry Ogbonna

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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