The weather was good. We decided to have a meeting outside the church building—in the open air. It was strange especially because it was the first time to do something like this.
This was a rare meeting—as rare as it was being held outside. Never before had I experienced such an explosive laughter in a congregation. The pastor was extremely humorous, yet not diluting the message. Everybody was awake and alert.
Two men approached, smoking and talking in loud voices. Everybody turned to look at them. They paced fast past the ushers. Bewildered, the ushers failed to intercept them. They walked as if they were going to the pastor but stopped abruptly in the middle of the equally bamboozled congregation.
They asked for water.
The congregation murmured incoherent disapprovals, reacting to the intruders’ intermeddling They must have been desperately thirsty because when they noticed the disapprovals, they started begging but they were not given chance.
How could they interrupt the meeting? Don’t they have respect? They were not going to get any water. Next time they’ll have to learn some manners, especially when approaching a consecrated place. The sooner they got rid of them the better.
Getting an approval nod from the pastor, the ushers swung into action. Looking surprised, the two strangers were rushed away from the scene faster than they came.
If the scene was allowed to play longer, the flow of the humour and the message would be lost. The congregation was eager to get back on track.
But who were these two strangers? The first thing you’d think when you saw them was that they were vagabonds. Although looks could deceive, there was little or no reservation to say that they were tramps.
Something was hanging in the air. There was heaviness that made the pastor struggle to get back to the sermon. No sooner had he started than a young boy, Peddy Pattles, shot up. You’d think fire had been introduced on his chair.
Until then, he had been proven good-mannered, partly attributable to his shyness.
“Those two men are angels”, he surprised everybody. He was shouting repeatedly. “We must give them water, call them back! Sending angels away unwatered is unthinkable?”
He went to fetch water and forgot that nobody called the two strangers back. When he returned with the water, there was no one to drink it. They were long gone. He couldn’t follow after them because he didn’t even know which direction they took.
The meeting couldn’t continue again. The pastor was as disoriented as the listeners.
Everyone except Peddy believed that the devil had scuffled the meeting. There was nothing they could have done to stop the strangers. But the final blow was dealt by Peddy. If only he didn’t interrupt the pastor anew! He had to be disciplined.
As people dispersed, he was summoned to the pastor’s office. The eight church elders were all there.
The poor, shy boy! How was he to face them? Facing them was in itself an unthinkable punishment. What was he to say? How were they going to grill him?
“We are very disappointed with you. You allowed the devil take control over you”, the pastor didn’t mince his words.
For a moment there was complete silence. Peddy wasn’t answering. The leadership didn’t know what to do with him, especially knowing that he had been obedient pure-hearted boy. They knew that getting him to talk and face what he did wouldn’t be an easy task.
He drew in deep breath (he later explained to me that the breath was anointing that brought him wisdom and courage to help handle the situation) and started, “I’m sorry for what happened—I never premeditated it, but those two men were angels”.
The environment changed. By giving that answer, his grillers were gobsmacked. They knew he would apologise but he sounded strangely authoritative. They could almost feel that they would be on the receiving end. Maybe it could have been wise to just let things die a natural death.
But why was he insisting that the smoking strangers were angels?
There was again another momentary silence.
The silence was interrupted by a phone call. There was an urgent matter that the pastor had to attend to. They rescheduled the meeting later in the week to find out why Peddy insisted that the smoking; trampy; noisy and disrespectful interlopers were angels.*
*Coming Soon: Read about how Paddy defended the “Smoking Angels”.
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