A cock crowed triumphantly as the dark gourd of dawn shattered in the sky. Its contents spilled and lit up the sky with a rainbow flush that smothered the last vestiges of moonlight.
A young man carrying some farming tools and a calabash trudged along the crooked path to his farm on the outskirts of “Aiye” village. His weather beaten, black face was dissected into furrows by worry lines. Bent over like an old man, he walked with a bowed and beaten attitude that made it seem an imaginary hammer beat him into the ground with every step. The “tie and dye” traditional clothes he wore were threadbare. Poverty was written all over him with a boldness that was shocking!
When he got to the T-Junction intersecting the road leading to “Aiye” village and the one leading to the community river, he placed the calabash on the ground and opened it, mouthing silent incantations. The opened calabash revealed congealed white pap known as “eko”, chicken and palm oil. The man pleaded to the deity to overlook how miserly his gift was and to feast on his offering.
Still muttering to himself, he gathered his things and left for his farm wondering whether his relentless sacrifices were finally going to pay off this time. He had sacrificed to all the known gods and goddess’ of his people without any notable difference in his destiny. Orisha had been called upon, Oya had been placated, Yemoja had been appeased, Ogun had been mollified, Obatala had been invoked, yet the unending stream of his misery stretched on and on.
His whole life has been one of visiting shrivelled up crones in the form of herbalists, men and women who divined his fate looking at the positional attitudes of cowry shells. Thing is, he had always felt if his whole life was tied to the random layout of those inanimate objects, then something was definitely wrong with him. However, he did not know of any other way out of his predicament so he plodded on inexorably. He had taken trips to treacherous hills, snake infested valleys, thick forbidden forests shadowy as death, and muddy river banks in search of a divine solution. In the process, he had offered the most bizarre sacrifices, a snowy white goat with a triangular black spot under its left eyelid, a palm kernel that was half blue and half red, a chicken that hopped about only one foot, tilapia that bore semblance to a mermaid and so on. All this had cost him a fortune in time and money to no avail.
The man was under a curse. His great grandfather, a very rich farmer had committed an abomination that had angered the gods of the land and the earth had been cursed on behalf of his whole generation. Following this, their family tree had been ravaged by the rot of abject poverty. The weevils of penury had eaten deep into the grains of their stupendous wealth until nothing was left. The acres of cocoa farm that the white men used to buy from to transport to their far away land had become mostly fields of weeds and thorns. The farm had become a monochromatic panorama of brown and rust with an interspersion of trees with droopy heads, stunted and despondent. The trees constantly wept withered leaves that the wind playfully swept and stacked all over. The leaves that crunched under his split and hardened soles were a continuous reminder that death had permanently pitched a tent in his living enterprise.
Before the curse, the land had yielded abundantly without sweat. Sequel to the curse, the fertile rich soil assumed the consistency of iron and the dryness of a desert soil. To get the least harvest from it was such back breaking work. He worked like an elephant and got the rewards of an ant. Even when more land had been acquired in nearby riverine villages with reputable rich soils, the estate turned to stone under their toiling hoes until they realized the curse was irrevocably tied to their lives. The curse was a venomous snake that curled around the heart and infused venom into the bloodstream. It followed his family everywhere. It was not positional or situational, it was genetic. It was a spiritual hereditary disease without a cure.
A few months down the line, after spending three nights with an old priest with joints mangled by arthritis, the man started contemplating suicide when there was no improvement in his lot. The old man had told him that if he could bath for three days with the blood of a cow that had aborted ten times, he would be emancipated from his curse forever. It turned out to be another wild goose chase. Suicide at that point was a very palatable option. His gods had failed him abysmally.
One day, on his way home after another gruelling day at work, he came across some white men with a sprinkling of black men surrounded by excited village folks. They were having an “Isoji” which was a revival crusade. He was captivated by the fervour with which the surrounded people were clapping and singing. Since he had nothing better to do, he stayed at a safe distance to watch the proceedings. He was able to garner from the interpreter that they were servants of some King in heaven. He was absolutely amazed to hear that the King had sacrificed His only Son for him. The whole tale sounded so senseless that he left but not without collecting a tract written in his native language.
The whole story though absurd, niggled at his soul all through the night. The next afternoon, after a meal of shrunken roasted yam in palm oil, he settled down to read the tract under a thatched hut. As the sun packed the tools of its forge and started the long journey to its western home, the man digested the pamphlet voraciously over and over again.
The story still sounded incredible, but the man connected to it somehow albeit with incredulity. He was not used to this. The gods he knew exacted and taxed their worshipers for sacrifices but the One he was reading about sacrificed his only Son for him. The gods he worshiped were used to taking, but here was a God who gave and lavishly at that. The King of heaven had allowed his Son to be slaughtered like a lamb on a human altar in other to destroy the curse that plagued him. What astonished him most was that from what he read, he did not even qualify to be the kind of person this heavenly Prince would die for. Another thing that boggled his mind was that the sacrifice even though thousands of years old still held true today and he never need sacrifice anymore the rest of his life. It was not about the work of the man or what his lineage had done. It was about the mercies and the love of the King of heaven. The tract said there was a blessing in the lamb’s sacrifice that no curse could withstand. The sacrifice was imbued and resonated with an eternal blessing that could not be limited by time and space. The best part was that the blessing brought supernatural rain that made the earth fruitful. This one made the farmer’s heart leap. The man realized all he needed to do for the blood to work on his behalf and break the power of the curse was just to have faith in the sacrifice. It was difficult for his mind to wrap around this since the gift was free and he had worked so hard all his life without tangible results. However, he knelt down, prayed and believed.
Years down the line, his cocoa plantation was producing so much crop, he had become the greatest exporter in the western region of his country and was the Chairman of the Cocoa Framers Union. He became so wealthy that other farmers envied him especially since the price per metric tonne of the crop was now dependent on him. Even, when the whole region was suffering from a dearth of rain, his land still produced so much that agricultural experts were sent to interview him to find out the secret of his success. He felt he was carrying the wells of the blessing with him everywhere that made things bloom even in the harshest of environs. He came to realize that the dew of productivity sparked off by the blessing was spiritual and not physical. The rain of the blessing was not subjective to climatic disposition.
Everywhere he looked at in his orchard these days was verdant green complimented by a rainbow of colourful fruits. To make matters even better, oil was discovered in one of his fields. The blessing was a living force that broke the yoke of the curse, something that Sango’s fiery axe could not even accomplish. The blessing was a divine irrigation system that watered the arid situations of his life. The blessing was a supernatural fertilizer that enriched his nutrient-less wastelands… The blessing of the Lord does really make rich….
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
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