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.”
A mother had beamed at her daughter and whispered into her ear: “You hear what I told you?”
And someone had led Mathias Mhere’s hit song, ‘Favour’, and drawn a resounding chorus from the congregation.
Takaiona favour ichiuya naMwari
Favour, favour, favour….
It was a sweet word.
The sweetest word they had ever heard.
Nobody had stopped to think that favour is not deserved.
On the road to Domboshava, they talked about the power yengomakurira.
A knowledgeable believer was talking about mysterious drumbeats that could be heard from the granite mounts.
He talked about caves archiving ancient culture. He talked about caves with ancient pottery, some of which still contained zviyo nemapfunde.
He talked about rock armouries caching ancient weaponry, battle axes, assegais and arrows stuck in those caves
He talked about rock paintings – indelible ways of the land written on ancient stone.
And he had every passenger on the edge of their seats and he was proudly talking about mysterious voices in the caves when the impatient Man of God put an end to the ‘nonsense’.
He said: “Such talk is not encouraged when people are on a mission like we are on now. It invites those demons to interfere with our objectives. We are going to seek the favour of the god of Israel and not some demons vakafa vasingazive Jesu.”
And then he started quoting verses: “Bhaibheri rangu shoko raMwari rinoti …”
He turned to the oral historian and said: “Now, tell me, where is everything you were saying written?”
He said: “Don’t be scared. Zvese izvozvo hazvishande. Our God is a god of war and miracles.”
After Mverechena, on the road to Domboshava, an aspiring MP had said to the pastor: “Man of God, tell us about favour again. That was a powerful sermon you gave us back there last Sunday.”
“Don’t worry, Honourable. Jehovah weminana will remove all your stains and voters will begin to see a perfect person.”
The political aspirant was pleasantly surprised: “You are already calling me Honourable?”
“Aikazve! Why not? Oh yee men of little faith.”
“Asi pane zvamaratidzwa here nhai munhu waMwari?”
Someone led Mathias Mhere’s hit song, ‘Favour’, and the chorus drowned the man of God’s reply.
Everyone felt favoured by the God who had said: “Jacob I will love and Esau I will hate.”
Nobody felt pity for Esau.
Nobody wanted to be in Esau’s shoes.
Everybody admired Rebecca who had deleted Isaac’s favourite, Esau, and inserted her own favourite, Jacob.
At the foot of the mountain, they gathered in the darkness and prayed.
The moon was rising in the east and the shadow cast by the mountain on the Western slope turned the night to pitch black.
The pastor instructed them to turn off their torches to avoid distractions.
After three prayers, the man of God said: “Yava nguva yekubvuma.”
A young man said: “Ndinobvuma mweya yemadzinza inonditevera ichikanganisa raramo yangu. Ndinobvuma mweya yeuvhimi chaiyo ndichikumbira kuti dai Jehovah vaisundira kure neni.”
A woman’s voice spoke into the darkness.
She said: “Ndinobvuma mweya yemadzitete akafa asina kuroorwa. Ndinoiramba mugomo rino muzita raJesu tenzi wangu.”
Another confessed jealousy.
Another confessed the spirits of ancestors who were murdered.
And yet another confessed the spirits of ancestors who died in poverty. Another confessed the spirits of ancestors who died in war.
He did not say which war or why they had been fighting. He just wanted them exorcised from his life.
He wanted to be bathed in the blood of Jesus.
He wanted favour from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob who had been favoured with blessings taken from Esau who had been hated even before he was born.
They proceeded up the mountain, holding onto tree trunks and tufts of grass.
A woman’s voice said:“Nhai ndibateiwo ruoko.”
A hairy hand found her own in the darkness and she freaked.
The pastor’s voice said: “Ndini.”
The woman chuckled and said: “I had thought…,” and she let herself be pulled up the steep mountain slope.
In her confession, she had said in the promotions coming at her work, she wanted to be favoured above everyone else.
They stopped to rest.
The man of God talked about favour.
He said to his flock: “Tell yourself deep inside your heart that you are here to seek God’s favour.”
He said: “Favour overrides the choices of men.”
He said: “Favour rewards you without reason.”
He said to the aspiring Parliamentarian: “God’s favour will give that parliamentary seat to you regardless of whether the people like you or not.
“It is God who appoints leaders and he does not consult voters for his choice.”
The politician said: “I receive.”
The man of God said: “You had better, Honourable.”
The man of God looked at the woman who wanted to be favoured above everyone else in the upcoming promotions; the woman he had pulled up the steep mountain slope.
He said to her: “God’s favour will grant your wish.”
White teeth popped the darkness and the woman said: “I receive.”
And she looked shabby, even in the dead of the night.
The man of God looked at her again and qualified his anointing: “God’s favour is not attracted by appearances or the judgments of men. That is why it is called God’s favour.”
They proceeded to the mountain top cursing mweya yemadzinza avo every step of the way.
They laboured up the steep mountain slope seeking the favour of Jesus of Nazareth who had said to the Syrophoenician woman: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel … (and) … It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15: vs 21-28)
They laboured up the dark and dangerous steep slopes kuDomboshava on their knees, like the gentile Syrophoenician woman, seeking the favour to eat the crumbs that fell from the Jewish master’s table.
The oral historian who had mesmerised believers with the talk of mysterious drumbeats that could be heard from the granite mounts; caves archiving ancient culture; millennia-old pottery still containing zviyo nemapfunde; rock armouries caching ancient weaponry – battle axes, assegais and arrows; race memoirs printed on rock … that oral historian had been told to cut his crap and talk instead about Moses on Mount Sinai and about an empty grave in Israel and to seek instead the favour of crumbs that fell from the Jewish master’s table.