The World’s Most Beautiful Bible

Magnificent bible that can be passed from generation to generation

If you ever had just one book… what book would it be? For most christians the answer is simple: it’s The Holy Bible. But what if the most important book of all this time could also be the most beautiful, sturdiest and important your family’s heirloom Bible? The one, which is passed from generation to generation: from you to your children and grandchildren.

Probably the most magnificent Bibles is Cassell’s Illustrated Family Bible, dated from 1840s-1860s, which is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful King James Version Bibles ever published. With 1600 pages and more than 900 iconic illustrations and detailed maps, it had almost an encyclopedic value.

Paulius Virbickas, entrepreneur and publisher who has published over 1000 books found this Bible sitting on a shelf, covered in dust, in an old antique bookstore. It seemed like it was just waiting for him patiently. As he slowly opened its cover and started carefully browsing through old pages, he immediately understood – this is it.

Together with his team Paulius devoted almost a year to painstakingly restore the magnificent graphic illustrations and decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for The World’s Most Beautiful Bible. Just recently their Kickstarter has surpassed 100% funding and there are still some time left for those who want to get this magnificent bible.

This is a majestic Bible that contains extensive commentaries in parallel columns, as well as a complete Concordance and a comprehensive Bible Dictionary:

• The extraordinary Holy Bible is over 1600 pages long and dramatically oversized (9’’x11,88’’)

• Original King James Version (KJV) – a translation that is so important, that it is considered to be a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world.

• Embossed cover with gold finishing & gilded book edge.

• Handmade solid wood box

• All pages are printed on acid-neutral non-fading archival quality paper, sewn into binding to last long usage and could be open flat

• 3 satin ribbons in black, red and gold to mark your favorite passages

• Personalized cover with your family’s name

• Printed and bound in Europe.

Creators of this project promosed produce 5 versions of The World’s Most Beautiful Bible + 1 “stretch goal” version after they’ll reach $12 000 funding.

Here are these 5 versions of The World’s Most Beautiful Bible:

  1. Personalized Limited Edition

2.  Personalized CHRISTMAS SUPERSAVER Edition – The World’s Most Beautiful Illustrated Family Bible in a solid wood box

  1. Deluxe AMBER Edition in Handmade Wooden Box From Reclaimed Oak + hand bind premium black Italian leather covers & genuine Baltic amber cross

  1. Deluxe SILVER Edition in Handmade Wooden Box From Reclaimed Oak + hand bind premium Italian royal blue leather covers & silver cross

5.  Deluxe GOLD Edition in Handmade Wooden Box From Reclaimed Oak + hand bind premium Italian burgundy leather covers & gold cross

You can support this project and order one of the bibles, listed above here.

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These little lines of mine

My name is Godswill Ezeonyeka and I am blessed to be here. I feel privileged but what can I say. When God calls He fills also. That is to say whatever you are meant to do you already have capacity to. It just needs a bit of harnessing.

  1. PURPOSE:

7 years ago, Wordsmith was not a word meet to describe me. In fact I was at an impasse with myself because I really wanted to know what it was I could do to impact my world, but writing at the time was not an option. Probably just a distant memory because rewind some 15 years I had tried my hands on poetry and that was it. But then during my university days, I once was watching an episode of Turning Point and they had this poet perform a piece. As I watched, I had this certainty, call it conviction if you will, that I could do what she did and needless to say I was excited inside because I loved it. I loved it and I wanted to do it and your guess is as good as mine “I did nothing about it”. Till I got an idea that was stubborn, it wouldn’t leave. It seemed as if my mind had a life of its own and soon I had to write. It was my first good poem (at least I think so) and it was more of a release than it was passion.

But then I had this question. WHAT NEXT? Now that I have written. What next?

That question’s metamorphosis is the vision that is Christ A Poet. You can visit http://www.christapoet.com to see what that is about. But this story I shared is to make a point; “Purpose is what directs passion and skill to solve problems”.

Many people writers are familiar with the writer’s block syndrome. But I can tell with your writer’s block on full gear, if your life depends on it, you will write and write well. As writers or artists in general, if your art creation is not for a reason bigger than yourself, you will always be substandard to who you can be.

Purpose drives you when you have the “inspiration”. Purpose drives you when you are sick. Purpose keeps you up late at night thinking of the perfect word to complete a line of thought. Purpose will make you go to your friends, beg them to put on the generator so you charge your phone and write. In general, Purpose takes the excuses out of the game. If you still have excuses (no matter how valid they are) for not writing, then you do not have a big enough reason/purpose yet. Purpose in simple definition is Why you write.

SO WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Before you rush to answer this question lets see what writing can do.

How Books Saved My Life

NOVEMBER 1, 2013

By Lindsey Collins

http://www.literallydarling.com

There is a term (a legitimate medical term), called bibliotherapy, and I think, unknowingly, it might have saved my life.

Bibliotherapy– noun; an expressive therapy that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. The basic concept behind bibliotherapy is that reading is a healing experience.

There are libraries that make a practice of prescribing books to people as a form of therapy. The Center for Fiction in New York City actually employs bibliotherapists to give out book prescriptions. I think this might be the most amazing idea.

But back to me, and how books saved my life.

I was never suicidal, but I was angry and confused and hurting. My story is less common than most (at least I think so) but I hope you will still understand. Tragic circumstances took an angry, typical 15-year-old and made me into a walking emotional wreck. Most people who knew me then probably thought it wasn’t a big difference considering what I’d been through, but it was. I am just an exceptionally good faker.

When I was 15, my dad got sick. The disease doesn’t matter, but six months later he was blind. It’s been more than seven years, and it’s a fact that I still have a hard time accepting. When he first got sick, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t make him better, couldn’t show the doctors how to fix him, and I felt helpless. So I turned to books. And TV shows. Any story I could find with a mystical, supernatural, or mysterious component. I carried books everywhere, weighing down my purse or just in my hands like a personal shield. I needed stories that didn’t require me to think beyond reading the words or watching a screen, and I threw myself in other (fictional) people’s problems. I cried with them, I laughed with them, I pitied them, and I used them. I used them to soften my own problems, the problems lurking in my house that I couldn’t repair. I don’t think I realized at the time, how much my situation was influencing my choices. I picked shows where people had the ability to heal, something I would’ve given anything to be able to do. I picked shows where 16-year-old girls fought monsters, both real and imaginary. In those six months I probably read a hundred books and watched a thousand hours of TV (sleep was not really being a friend at this point). Mostly it’s all a blur.

I’m 22 now. I’ve graduated from college, and I’m looking for a job. Looking back, I think those stories saved my life. They let my mind walk away and showed me that the characters I loved were the strong ones, and that I could be strong too.

This I culled from a site to show something people don’t pay attention to. Writing can change the world, one person a time. Yes many think reading is boring, yes many don’t see why you work so hard to string these words, and yes it all seems futile and you feel not appreciated and irrelevant. But you have your audience and no matter how little or big they are, they are hanging on your every word and they deserve your very best.

  1. Pursuit.

I am for the most part a poet. This means I try a lot of stuff, and I have learnt much. This platform is a bit limited for a proper transfer of knowledge but instead of giving you fish. I will tell you why and how you could fish.

First, you are only as creative as the amount of skill you have access to. What you dont know you cannot be creative with. Grow your skill.

Lets take poetry:

Poetry is the genre of literature with the fewest use of words. Prose and Drama get the liberty of using a tonne of words to drive home a point that the rhythm and rhyme constrictions of poetry will give you only 8 syllables to do same. Like every art form, there are rules. You have got to learn them. Some of such is:

  1. Rhyme and Rhythm: Lose this and you don’t have a poem. Your ability to string words in such a fashion that the mind of the reader travels but you still have control of where it goes is key to creating a good piece of poetry.

Disclaimer: Not every poem rhymes but all poems have rhythm.

  1. Structure: With many types of poetry at our disposal, an understanding of structure gives you a guide to follow. So when you choose a structure, you stick to it and get the best off it.

Examples of structural decisions:

Number of lines per verse

Rhymes or no rhymes

Language of choice

Story etc.

Find them, understand them. This applies to most forms of writing.

There is a lot you can do with writing but if you don’t seek to know you might find yourself stuck in a circle, writing the same things. And then writing gets boring both for you and the reader. So seek skill!

One easy way to learn is to watch and learn from those doing stuff you can’t yet do. In the story above… The poet in question was Janette…ikz. I presently have almost all her videos available on the internet. Infact I presently have over a 100 poetry videos. I am not sure of the number because I have not counted.

Also exercise is key. Take time to try new stuff when you write. You might not get it now but you will get better if you start now. Subject your work to criticisms and take them well. In 5 years time no word said to you will mean as much. And by all means write! Write! Write!

One more thing.

There are two kinds of writers. Those that wait for inspiration and those that draw inspiration out of its hiding place.

All these I am pointing is to say; When you have purpose, you have a reason to write. When you acquire skill you are equipped to fulfill purpose.

Finally…

These little lines of mine I wrote is a spin off the popular children song (I’m sure you all noticed). And like this song I hope this time we shared gives you a reason or an answer or inspiration to know you have what it takes to change the world in those little lines of yours.

(C) Godswill Ezeonyeka

2018

Christianity and the vicious cycle of political hopelessness

For a long time in Christendom, there has been an unfounded nursed notion that, active political engagement is inherently defiled and corrupt, hence Christians who are serious and passionate about the gospel should not be involved. Most Christians are of the view that anything besides pulpit preaching of the gospel is a distraction from the Great Commission. while this sounds religiously true, it is urgently necessary to understand that we believe in a God who cares passionately about His world and the whole of His creation (Jn. 3:16) and is therefore concerned about its affairs such as, how it is governed and who governs it.

The Lord in Matthew 28:18-20, commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey God in every area of life. In making disciples of all nations and in all areas, we must also disciple people to make godly decisions about politics and governance. Nevertheless, this is not the stance of many Christians. Some prefer to be indifferent towards governance and the whole process of electioneering. In Nigeria, majority of the active and most influential politicians belong to the ‘other side’ and are at the helms of government, advancing the purpose of their beliefs. That is largely the reason why today, the afflictions of Christians are multiplying all over the country; the incessant harassment of Christian farmers all over the country by Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram insurgencies, the displacement of Christians from their original villages in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba etc. and many more terrorist actions are few examples.

While some of these persecutions may have their place in awakening the Nigerian church and increasing her thirst for revival, could this have been the original will of our God; that His people have no safe place of worship? These killings and terror attacks might go on and many more may arise simply not because God wants it but because Christianity lacks influence in Nigerian politics. It is not just okay anymore to fold hands and watch helplessly as evil men decide the fate of God’s true children. In this write up, I introduce the term “political hopelessness” to help explain the default condition of an ordinary Christian in Nigeria towards politics. I also try to charge the heart of Nigerian Christians to get involved in politics, lead and establish God’s purpose on earth.

The lack of Christian influence in the Nigerian government has led to a vicious cycle illustrated below:

Most Christians have recoiled from affairs of the government due to past experiences and therefore have developed a default mindset that sees politics and every politician as evil and corrupt. This has consequently engendered borderless political apathy. However, not getting involved does not solve the problem, it only makes Christians to be outnumbered and consequently loose in the elections. So when the elections are over and most of the seats are occupied by non-Christians, we have nobody to represent our interests. No one to stand up and pass bills that protect Christian interests and affairs as evidently displayed in various systematised anarchy unleashed against innocent Christian farmers, villagers, schools or gatherings.

As time went on, we lost our voices and because our voices were lost, our interest were buried! We consequently returned to the beginning of the cycle. And on and on goes the vicious cycle. This cycle has been on for decades in Nigeria and we have consequently settled with a sense of hopelessness having ignorantly concluded that nothing could be done anymore.

Furthermore, many so-called Christian politicians have worsened matters. They come to the churches and kneel on the altars only to get elected and enrich themselves. Such people have lost the trust of the Christian masses for they have helped make them hopeless. Reserved for them in hell is everlasting torment, except they repent and occupy for God.

In order to remedy the situation however, the cycle has to be broken. Christians must begin to deliberately strategize and put trusted people in the right positions. These efforts may not yield immediate results but at least will set the pace for generations to come. The Bible also challenges us in Luke 14: 28 & 31 to first sit and count the cost, and plan. With determination and proper strategy, Christ will rule and God’s counsel will be established. It is necessary that stable government policies that promote the preaching and practice of God’s word at all levels of civil service be implemented. It will be glorious if the government of the day sees and believes in the end time revival of the land and hands over power to the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of citizens. How can this be achieved? To what extent is this achievable? It takes having a sincerely consecrated disciple of Christ to be in power. How else can he/she be in power if not encouraged to accept God’s leading and training, and then get involved in governance?

It is worthy of note that the involvement of Christians in government through the ages is the most vibrant reason why today, we have hospitals, abolition of slavery and the practice of killing twins, modern science, the true understanding of the worth of women, regard for human life, great works of art and literature, a workable system of justice, education for the common human being, the free-enterprise system, etc. A writer tells a story of a Christian minister named John Witherspoon who became president of the College of New Jersey in 1768. While there, Witherspoon taught Biblical principles of government to his students. Of the 478 young men who were graduated during his tenure, 114 became ministers; 13 were state governors; 3 were U. S. Supreme Court judges; 20 were U.S. Senators; 33 were U.S. Congressmen; Aaron Burr, Jr., became Vice-President; and James Madison became President. As a Christian, Witherspoon exerted an enormous influence on the direction of American government. So did Joseph and Daniel during their times in the Bible. These are eloquent testimonies of men whom God used in politics during their time. What makes it different now?

As Christians, we must come to the understanding that God is interested in having His Children take over every sphere of influence even on earth. And we must deliberately determine to make His counsel stand if we truly love Him. The true proof of our love for God and one another lies partly in our participation in politics albeit, with a kingdom mindset. How do we claim to love God if we don’t engage in things that enhance and promote His kingdom? How do we claim to love one another if we don’t participate in the area that most profoundly shapes basic rights and the freedom of others? We must arise, take the bull by the horns and put an end to this vicious cycle of hopelessness. You have the opportunity to influence the world for God if you will only take it.

However, taking the bull by the horns comes with a price. We must realize that this is a mandate worth living for and if need be, worth dying for. We must be ready to loose our lives in pursuit of this mission, bearing in mind that to live is Christ and to die is gain. And also that as long as we remain in the will of God the Father, there shall no evil befall us neither shall any plague come nigh our dwelling, except it be His will. We therefore, must come to a point where our lives mean little in the face of God’s great promises. He has said, “he that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”. Eternity is the bigger picture. We must be able to give up our lives to pursue Heaven’s mandate. If we do not come to that point, then it is better not to have started. Are we ready to die if need be? Are we ready to say like Daniel and his friends, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” We will not compromise. And the Father will fight for us. We have the opportunity to influence the world for God if we will only take it. May God grant us the courage, Amen.

(C) 2018

Steven Kator IORFA

My Prayer

Success is subjective to individual values. The most popular definition of success however is attached to money and things money can buy. These things, no doubt make life beautiful; ranging from grand glass houses by the beach, buying an island for oneself, driving speedy bullet proof metallic cars, owning fleets of Titanics, drinking the best of wines and having to associate only with people of the same class. Giving 90% of one’s monetary worth to charity and still not being able to track one’s wealth without the help of a financial manager should be success enough. This introduces the next most popular definition of success.

Giving back to the society has become an everyday phrase. People want to impart on other people’s lives, genuinely or in genuinely. Some rich folks want ‘philanthropist’ added to their titles. Some want more fame than they have. Others use it as a diversion or leverage to retain what they have and keep gaining riches.

Another set of people have sympathy for humanity and want to help change lives. These set of people may not have much money but they are willing to share the little they have with people that don’t have. Nothing else gives them more satisfaction than the smile they put on people’s faces and to them this is success.

Worthy to note is the division that associate success to their careers. Doing well in what you like doing should be satisfying. Being recognized as a champion in one’s field of operation is elevating. The idea of being a professional and the most sort in the labor market is 90% of dreams that creep around at night on earth. Earning grandly in this career one loves is not something that is seen every day, so may it receive its due acknowledgement.

This last category is what I want my definition of ‘success’ to be. Firstly, I want my heart to burn so fiercely for God. I want him to set my heart on fire. I want to be consumed by desire for him. To be able to put him first and not trade him for anything else is what I desire. To lay on my death bed and be able to smile because all my life I have preached the gospel; I have won souls for Jesus; I have fought the good fight of faith; to have the gospel as my number one mission in life is my goal. For God to be ‘practically’ (not just generically) more important than my spouse, mother, father, siblings, career, money is my prayer. I am not satisfied with just telling him I love him and that he is more important than every other thing. I really want to deeply love him with clenches, fists, my last drop of blood and last draw of breath. I want to be able to preach the gospel without reservation; to yearn and groan for people who do not understand; to study and know the bible so well that I can teach effectively and answer questions in the hearts of men and to choose discomfort and inconvenience for the sake of the gospel. I want to be a mobile gospel, in fact. I need money, career and everything the world has to offer to weigh less than my desire to preach the gospel. I want nothing else in mind when I pray asides my brokenness for him and my requests for hearts receiving the gospel. I want to die calling myself successful because I preached the gospel and I love the lord. This is my prayer. I pray that I be successful!

Fidelis: Showing a little kindness

Christ a poet

A call came through my line. It had been a long while since I got any calls from unregistered numbers. I hesitated a little and went on talking to Ramat. The phone rang again and this time I felt like picking up. Just as my hand pressed the green button, the caller hung up. It was a flash. I looked at the number closely and realized it was totally strange. I felt a positive urge and so I dialed back. “Kator”, the voice called out. It sounded so familiar. It was a blend of nearly educated Tiv accent and an unpolished desire to sound British. ” Oh Kator”, the voice called again. ” Do you know who is speaking?” I paused a while, felt like dropping the call, but went on to respond. “Hello, I really don’t know who I’m speaking with.” This time an excited shrill spread through the…

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Fidelis: Showing a little kindness

A call came through my line. It had been a long while since I got any calls from unregistered numbers. I hesitated a little and went on talking to Ramat. The phone rang again and this time I felt like picking up. Just as my hand pressed the green button, the caller hung up. It was a flash. I looked at the number closely and realized it was totally strange. I felt a positive urge and so I dialed back. “Kator”, the voice called out. It sounded so familiar. It was a blend of nearly educated Tiv accent and an unpolished desire to sound British. ” Oh Kator”, the voice called again. ” Do you know who is speaking?” I paused a while, felt like dropping the call, but went on to respond. “Hello, I really don’t know who I’m speaking with.” This time an excited shrill spread through the line. I heard an anxious reply, “it’s Fideris”. “Oh my God, Fidelis!”,  I called out. The voice was now unmistakably matched.
I first came across Fidelis during one of my numerous journeys to the University Town of Nsukka. He had boarded the bus along me and other passengers. Unknowing to the rest of us, Fidelis for whatever reason had failed to come along with the complete transport fare and had arranged with the driver that he’d pay the rest on arrival. It was his unlucky day. I don’t know if he planned it or it happened inadvertently, but by the time we arrived Obollo, Fidelis’ phone was dead and whoever he had planned to receive money from was nowhere to be found. Of course, whoever it was would have gone after waiting because by the time we arrived, the evening breeze had given way to the cold and piercing winds of the night. Even the famous white skinned prostitutes who have given Obollo its fame were not so bold to stand in the open night. Rather they hid in thick clothings behind closed sheds. Even the Alhajis and pot bellied politicians remained in their cars while their drivers went to make the pick. It was the worst day to get toast. As the driver kept shouting and refusing to release Fidelis’ luggage, the rest of us had our attention drawn to the scene. It was night and even the sound of a dropping pin went far into the darkness. We wanted them to stop. But the driver would not. Fidelis owed him two thousand five hundred naira balance of the transport fare and an additional eight hundred naira for the luggage. Unlike the most of us who travelled with few belongings, Fidelis had packed a sack full of oranges, another full of yams and sweet potatoes , a live chicken and another sack full of over ripe and rotten mangoes. I let out a saddening laughter and returned to where my bag was. Some of the passengers who had arranged with their loved ones to come pick them up where already leaving. Some went along to board the busses to Nsukka. I was by an empty warehouse trying to put my things together when I felt a cold tap on my neck region. I turned sharply. It was him, Fidelis. He spoke with a heavy and thick Tiv accent. ” My broda, please find me small money make I give dat driver. De man don seize all my roads and lifuse to give me.” I didn’t know what to think. Why on earth did he choose to disturb me. There were at least four passengers still around. I looked at him again and again not sure of what to do or say. Those were not good old days when you could just help strangers. I had heard stories of how evil people disguised to be in need and when helped, turned around to cast evil spells on their good Samaritans. I would not fall a victim, not in my final year in school. Besides, I had left home with very little money barely enough to last me the first week. But even as these thoughts filled my mind, I knew the driver would not let him go till he had completed the fare. I asked him, ” how much do you need?”. He called without remorse the sum of three thousand and three hundred naira. Sluggishly and without knowing what I was doing, I counted three thousand naira and handed over to him. “Ah, God go bless you my broda.”, was the reply. “God go bless you well well”, he said again before going off to pay the driver. He returned again but this time, to kneel down and thank me. This was the time I became so emotional. “You don’t have to, come on stand up.” Stand up!” I kept saying these words as he prayed several blessings on me and my generations. When I realised he would not stop, I spoke to him in our native Tiv language. ” Okay, kuma higen. Mo ase sha angom.” This was the biggest mistake. Fidelis rattled something I never understood, stood up and started dancing. Then he said,”Wandaful……u ngu Tiv eee?, u ngu Tiv ve mfa ga ye? I began smiling. He went on, ” No Wanda, na only my broda fit do dis kind tin for me. No oda perhen go fit just give me money rike dat.” “Kai my broda, msugh. Msugh kpishi. Thank you very much. Then I asked him, ” what’s your name?” “Fideris, iti iyam ka Fideris” was the reply. “Okay, Fidelis, what’s your plan because I am headed for Nsukka and would love to join the bus now before it gets full.” I looked at my wristwatch. “It’s 11pm now and I am not sure there would be any other bus after that one there.” I said pointing in the direction of the bus. ” Okay, rets go nau….I dey go Nsukka also.” Was this not the young man whom I just gave three thousand naira to pay his outstanding fare? Where did he plan on getting three hundred and fifty naira to pay for Nsukka and with his luggage, maybe eight hundred naira? Well, I decided to keep my thoughts to myself. To avoid trouble, I didn’t offer to help him move his luggage to the other side of the road where the bus for Nsukka was packed. I went ahead. Fidelis effortlessly transferred his heavy sacks of yam and potatoes, mangoes and oranges, then the live chicken one after the other. I was seated in the front when he walked up to me and said, ” the driver say na one tauzend, five hunduled naila fa oooo. De man wan cheat me again ooo.” When he noticed I Said nothing, he went on, ” u wu… Orne…. an igboon wa afee dedoo.” Loosely translated, ” Really, the Igbo people are really cheats.” He kept hissing and hissing till the bus got full. I had no option again. I brought out a thousand naira note, went down from the car and bargained with the driver until he accepted to transport Fidelis and his luggage to Nsukka. He however said, ” make you tell your brother say if dat chicken wey him carry shit for buut, na him go pack am oooo. I no know why person go dey carry chicken travel for dis time wey no be Christmas.” As the journey progressed, I got less resented and grew more fond of Fidelis as he told me his story and what it was that brought him to Nsukka. When I got ready to drop, I handed him a five hundred naira note. He thanked me again and asked for my contact. That was the first and only time I gave him my contact and strangely enough, Fidelis has not lost it all these years. The following day when an unknown number gave me a missed call and I called back, I heard the receiver say, ” ka Fideris.”, and I knew at once who it was. I saved it as Fidelis Obollo. We had started talking at Obollo.
Fidelis kept calling to thank me over and over again. Sometimes he would not have airtime but flash me all the same and when I called back he would say, “I just say make I greet you.” Then he would go ahead to tell me how he was, what he was doing and how grateful he was to me. Later when he traveled back to Gboko, he called still. Over and over again I changed my phone and lost his contact but he’d call again and his accent would introduce him. Over and over again, I’d save his contact as Fidelis Obollo.
Today when he called, he didn’t just call to thank. Fidelis was asking when and how he’d pay back my kindness. This is over two years now but Fidelis still remembers me and my goodness to him. He insisted that he’d do anything possible to be good to me and kept asking how he could pay back. Well I told him, ” I am away from Benue now but will be coming back soon to join politics. You could make yourself available to rally around me when I begin to contest and campaign.” And as if that was what Fidelis was waiting for, he shouted so loud. “Wandaful, Orne….I am with you. You have my full support.” He went on to tell me he was now a student of Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture, Yandev. And how he really wants to see me again.
As I dropped the call, I kept thinking, how much a little act of kindness can do. I had only given out four thousand and five hundred naira to a stranger, and now in him I have a very powerful ally for my tomorrow. I have learned, showing a little kindness still pays.

The Last Post

When I was much younger than I am now, I enrolled into the Boys’ Brigade, a paramilitary church organization for boys and men. It was the custom with our family. Grandpa and my elder brother were members; all the older boys who stayed with us were  members. Only dad was not a member. So it was simply traditional for me to join as soon as I came of age. So the year I turned four, I joined the Anchor Boys’ rank of the 17th Benue Company and later would be promoted to the rank of an NCO. I would stay on that rank until I grew older and attended several camps and then I’d be promoted and become an officer. However, I did not stay that long.  My activities with the Boys’ Brigade ended when I was eleven and had to leave for my secondary education.

During my seven years with the Boys’ Brigade, we engaged in lots of paramilitary activities. We were taught discipline. We attended camps, went for rallies and on few occasions had to go for funeral services and ceremonies of our members. It was on one of such funerals that something unique happened to me. We had lost a member, a young boy of my age. A very painful one! We had gone camping in Makurdi very close to the Benue River and the first instruction we had received was to stay away from the river. It was dangerous. A lot of people had died in there.  But how could we? Young, exuberant, high-spirited  and highly adventurous boys not play with the river water? Was it not River Benue afterall? Our river? We had heard so much about it and we would be foolish not to have a feel of it. So we decided we’d wait till a day to the close of camp and pay the river a visit. And a visit did we pay.  We went seven but returned six. One of us (I can’t recall his name, he was from a different battalion) had drowned. The fire alarm sounded but little could be done to save him. He had drowned in the vast waters. His turgid body would be recovered two days later close to the north bank of the river. I’ll save you the reader all the details.

Two weeks later we were gathered in a small village, Mkar in Gboko, Benue State for his funeral. The wake keep was dreadful. I guess it must have been normal for others but dreadful for me. I had dreaded it right from when the burial was fixed. At night, I was sorely afraid of everything. The unexpected start of the brigade drums, the piercing silence afterwards, the thick wall of darkness. I saw his face when my eyes closed and when I opened them, he stood somewhere in the dark corner, sad, smiling. At times, he was the one sitting next to me and when I felt the urge to urinate, I dared not stand for he’d be waiting for me in the darkness. I knew though that all of these were simply my imaginations yet I was so stricken by fear and I wouldn’t take chances. Did I want him to pull me away and drown me in the sea of darkness that enveloped us? I’d rather pee in my pants.

A little while before dawn we were awoken to get set. Those who could have their bath did while some of us, especially the junior boys who needed no bathing simply dressed up in our uniforms. The ceremony had begun and all the procession had taken place peacefully.  There was so much going on around and in my head that I really paid attention to nothing. Then finally, the Commanding Officer gave the command for the bugler to blow the tune, the last post. I had heard it a couple of times. That solemn tune that reminded people to cry, for they cried more after it had ended than ever before. However, this last post began with a shrill in my body. I shook. I had been expecting it, but I shook all the same. It sounded more solemn and ominous than all the others I’ve ever heard. It was the sound of sorrow. A sorrow that I was very much involved in; a sorrow I’d very much played a part in, my sorrow.  It was here, that the real essence of the last post came to me. So later when it would be played again at my grandfather’s funeral, I’d read more meaning to it than anyone else. Grandpa’s funeral would be the last brigade funeral I attended up till now, and there again, the last post sounded.

Whenever they played the last post, everyone stood still. It was the last honour given to the dead. When the last post had sounded, the coffin would be lowered six feet beneath the earth. That would be the end. So the last post served as a reminder that truly this person was gone, never to be seen among the living again. If you had nursed any hopes before that something miraculous would happen, the last post seemed to dash all of such hopes. The last post brought reality upon many.  So immediately after the last post, wails and screams poured in from different parts of the compound where the grave was. But the last post had come to mean much more than tears to me. It had become a question.

Is the last post really the end of it all? It’s been eleven years since when I last renewed my membership with the boys’ brigade. But I hope to, and will certainly renew it before I die. Then would the last post be sounded at my funeral. Would it be the end? Certainly not! Fifteen years ago the last post seemed to me a reminder of the brevity of life and the certainty of death if Jesus tarried. But now, as I look through the years, I’ve come to see that death is only a beginning, an opening to a new world just like birth. If you are reading this and you do not believe in life after death, please hold on. Don’t stop yet. I’m still coming to that. So for me, when my last post has been blown, what next? That became a question that troubled my soul for several years. And I’m glad now that as I write, I’ve found answers, several answers to that question.  When and if my last post sounds, I’d be in paradise watching the events on earth. There I’d await the end of the age when My Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God and I, dead in Christ and many others like me, will rise first. After that, those who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with us in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. That’s for me because I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic and apostolic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Hold on if you don’t believe in any of these things. At least you believe in the certainty of death. To deny death would be to deny your very existence, to deny science. You remember MR NIGER D? The D is constant. Whether it be the last post or some kind of solemn hymn or speech, there’d be a last something in your honour even if you’ve lived the most worthless of lives. Where would you be when that last something is going on in your honour? If you’ve ever believed that you are made up of more than your body (flesh and bones and blood), then where would the rest of you be when your body is lowered six feet beneath? Do you ever actively remember death? The reason why most people live as they do is because they hardly ever actively remember that they’ll die. Think again and again.

If you believe in resurrection and life after death then think of eternity. Think of the seven year marriage ceremony with the lamb. Think of the millennial reign with Christ and endeavor to be in paradise when your last post sounds.

PENSPEAK in Heaven

Christ a poet

We raised tangerines in our little orchard, and oranges too. Towards evening, when the dusk had enveloped the atmosphere, the orchardsphere was full of citric smell. The kind of scent that is peculiar to pregnant orange plants whose pollinated stigma has just begun to form seeds. It was that kind of scent that made me wonder the awesomeness of nature and how God was careful and meticulous about every fabric that wove into what we have as earth today. Yet a new thought fascinates me more. If God spent six days in making earth and it’s this beautiful and awesome, then how awesome would a world still under construction after two thousand years look? Jesus told me in John. 14: 1-3 that He’s gone to prepare a place for me. And when He’s done, would come to take me there. He has been preparing that place for the past two…

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