Like every Sunday I had spent on Ile-Ife university campus, this Sunday was no different. 7 am, and I was dressed as sweet as dodo. Crammed myself into the uncomfortable seats of the amphitheatre; the congregation huddled close to withstand the biting wind.
Sometimes I wondered was this tradition or belief? But still I came. After a brief opening prayer, Tobiloba took to the mic, to begin the opening praise session. As a member of the choir myself, I understood the gruelling practice that came with leading the praise session. Tobiloba and his four back-up singers would have spent at least 8 hours in the previous week perfecting the routine. Such rigorous practice was not helped by the fact that as a student fellowship we could only afford crackly microphones and very, very substandard instruments. The drum-set sounded like rusty pots and pans and the keyboard like a strangulated cat. But we didn’t let that deter us. Wires criss-crossed the stage in haphazard lines that spoke to the fact that they had been hastily connected at 6 am that morning just to be as hastily disconnected at 10 am. Whatever sound produced by the singing team was quickly dispatched out of the amphitheatre by the swirling wind Alas, our theatre was semi-covered.
Nevertheless, we all threw ourselves bodily into the singing. We had all learnt to ignore such things insignificances as a cacophony masquerading as melody. Contentment we had been told comes from not having everything. So with great gusto we joined in the singing as led by Tobiloba. Tobiloba being a guy of great exuberance had us dancing and clapping with such enthusiasm that Elvis the pelvis could not rival. All was going well till we got to on of my favourite songs. In the spirit of most African praise songs, it had only one line sung differently over and over. Changes in key and pitch and melody but never in words. “Lord you are an awesome God.”
Maybe to signify how ecstatic he was Tobiloba attempted to come down off the stage to join the crowd with this one. Joy ensued. With the microphone in his left hand and his right lifted up to heaven he sang, “Lord you are an awesome God.” He took one step down the stage singing, “Lord you are an awesome God.” Unfortunately the aforementioned wires had become wrapped around his foot while he had been dancing and singing and gyrating.
As he tried to take the final step down, those wires gripped his foot so hard, it almost seemed as if a hand was wrapped around it. They pulled him back so sharply that in mid-descent from the stage he was dragged into a horizontal position for a split-second with his feet suspended over the stage and his upper body over the concrete floor. The next second with a resounding crash, he landed fully prone on the concrete floor.
The backing vocals sang on stoically if a little trepidatiously “Lord you are an awesome God.” We in the congregation waited to see if Tobiloba had been called to heaven. Seconds passed. “Lord you are an awesome God.” Tobiloba twitched a bit. “Lord you are an awesome God.” He moved his left hand. “Lord you are an awesome God.”
Slowly moving his microphone hand to his mouth Tobiloba joined in, “Lord you are an awesome God.” Raising himself on one knee he sang, “Lord you are an awesome God.” Finally fully upright he beleted out, “
LORD YOU ARE AN AWESOME GOD!!!” The service went on unhindered. After church, we checked him over to ensure that he was okay. He was fine.
Don’t wait till you are declared fine till you start again; don’t wait till you rise again before you keep on going. As long as you are alive… never stop singing.