SOWE rekuDomboshava had been the pastor’s choice.
He had said that there was power in those mountains; power to unlock God’s favour.
His sermon on God’s favour had been inspiring.
He had said: “God’s favour will give you the job you don’t qualify to have.
“God’s favour will give you the spouse everyone thinks you don’t deserve.
“God’s favour will open doors for you.
“God’s favour will get you the visa to the UK and the US nyore nyore with no questions asked.”
It was now the turn of the man of God to slink away into the wooded darkness yeDomboshava, leaving the proverbial lost sheep at a crossroads to make his own decision to remain lost or re-join the depleted flock.
The man of God had been taken aback, but not shown it, when the aspiring Member of Parliament had removed his hand of assurance from his shoulder and refused to come along with him.
He had said: “Go on ahead. I will be joining you time-time.”
He had not said: “Please forgive me man of God. You must excuse me. Go on ahead and I will be joining you shortly.”
He had changed.
He was changing and it seemed only a question of time before he completely folded up.
The man of God walked deeper into the wooded darkness – away from the contested campfire and the sound of mbira.
He had watched the beating of the man who had obviously started the fight in order to bring the man of God to show his miracle work.
He had been shaken by the assured ease with which the villager shrouded in black had floored his disciple.
The blow had been a definitive statement of strength and confidence.
And he had noted how the mbira players had continued to play, as if the whole thing had been theatre and not a real time struggle.
And it had felt as if it was him who had been floored and then magnanimously helped back to his feet in an allegory making a complete mockery of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
Elijah had shown no mercy to the prophets of Baal, even after they had lost the contest.
Here in Domboshava, the spirits of the land and the spirits of liberation war veterans had side-stepped their Pentecostal fanaticism and let them walk away with their lives.
And it had felt as if the words: “Go away and never come back,” had been a warning directed more at him than his overzealous disciple.
It was him who had identified the camp site and him who had brought the flock to that place.
He had heard the mbira tempo rise as he led the battered flock away.
And he had heard the women ululate.
He had also heard the free laughter of people enjoying a victory they thought had been foregone.
The formidability of the force contesting his mission was too solid and obvious for anyone to miss.
That he was losing both on the physical and spiritual front was beyond denial.
Something he could not exactly put a finger on was gnawing at his very sense of being.
Had he been naïve?
Had he been naïve to believe kuti there was a one-size-fit-all solution to all the problems of this world?
He stumbled deeper into the wooded darkness of Domboshava.
Behind him, the sound of mbira receded into a mere suggestion of sound.
Ahead of him, in the dark forest, the song yenyasha from the regrouping flock became progressively clearer:
“Tiri hwai dzarasika
The inadvertent juxtaposition of the two exclusive worlds suggested a possibility his theological training had pre-disposed him never to entertain.
Was it possible that the strangers in the night also subscribed to the principle of having no other God except their own?
A god who was not the God of Israel?
A god who was not the God of Abraham?
A god who was not the God of Isaac?
When he began to feel this, he retreated into the commandments that chastised doubt and dug in.
In the wooded darkness yeDomboshava, he heard the regrouping flock sing the traditional last line of defence:
“Mwari ndimi nhoo yedu
Hatidzitye hondo dzedu!”
It was a beautiful piece invoked to close the mind to logic; a beautiful rhyme composed to disable the mind from going beyond the inflexibility of scriptural rhetoric.
In that trench, one could simply declare: “My bible says this … My bible says that … He-e-e njani njani. Saka it is true.”
The man of God remembered once hearing another man of God he despised invoking the same adage in a televised sermon.
He had insisted: “You cannot apply your human reasoning to matters concerning God. You must just believe wobva wazarurirwa.”
And it suddenly occurred to him kuti the television evangelist could have only said that from the firm belief that he was himself inspired by the holy spirit.
And he had despised him!
And he had himself believed kuti he was inspired by God!
And he believed that there was one God!
And it suddenly hit him kuti all the prophets, evangelists, churches and sects that were despising and fighting each other all believed in the same God and the same Bible.
And they all believed kuti they were inspired to see truths that blemish the other men of the same God.
His mind shied from the obvious indictment
He dug deeper into the trench that chastised doubt; the trench impervious to logic of man.
And the thing he could not exactly put a finger to; the thing gnawing at his very sense of being also dug deeper within him…
To be continued…