Preacher man, beggar man
Oxy Moron, Contributor
Minutes to noon. Bus pulls out of South Parade, downtown Kingston, Spanish Town bound. Preacher man stands in the aisle and starts his harangue. Passengers are ordered to praise the Lord three times. Preacher Man recites the first few words of the lines of a Psalm. The passengers filled in the blanks.
He tells the story of a young woman on another bus. Instead of telling the man who sat beside her that Jesus loves him she told him, "I love you." She did it three times. Preacher asked why. She said she had loved the man from long time and she had to use the opportunity to tell him so. Jesus' love did not matter at that moment.
Ten minutes into the journey, a short, stocky man enters through the side door. He loudly begs passengers money. They rebuke him for disturbing Preacher Man's 'church'. Beggar Man continues his plea for money. A fat, jolly woman tells him to be quiet. Preacher man is preaching.
Beggar Man looks dazed as he stands motionless at the back of the bus. Preacher Man preaches. He says the devil has entered the bus. He's protecting his potential offering. He delves into 'by the sweat of thy brow thou shall eat bread'. Preacher Man is animated, but not sweating. He says, "When I see people going around and begging I say to myself, that's not God. He said anything yuh hand find fi do, do it, do it with all your might."
Beggar Man gets the message, and rushes to the front. He stands beside Preacher Man who eyes him. The bus stops. Beggar Man jumps off. Fat, jolly woman giggles. Beggar Man jumps on to another bus to Spanish Town.
Preacher Man gets into his offering-collection preamble. He says he's not begging, only seeking assistance. He says, "I am going to ask you to search not your wallet and your pocket, but your heart, and whatever you find give it over to the people of God. When God's people ask for your help, help us to reach others and spread his gospel. We are not here to beg. We are here to ask for your help. It may be a dollar, it may be a coin, give it and give it with love." He says he doesn't want to be poor or rich. He just wants to be wealthy.
He prays for the money he's about to receive. He goes down the aisle collecting the offering and reminding passengers about opening up their hearts and not their wallets and pockets. He returns to the front and comments on the looks on the passengers' faces. "It is really sad to look at some of your faces," he laments and then prays for the money he has received.
The harangue continues. Preacher Man gets personal. His presentation is now laced with invectives. Brother Bruce and Sista P are not spared. They are not deserving of being called Brother and Sista, for they are not children of God. Fat, jolly woman lets out a whoop at each pronouncement. She then starts her own discussion with a man beside her. It's about marriage and relationships. Her volume is now competing with Preacher Man's. He moves to the middle of the bus. The competition is on for the audience. Preacher Man, the expert at swaying the crowd, wins.
The insults continue into the Spanish Town terminus. Passengers give nods of approval. Bus comes to a full stop. Preacher Man thanks the driver and jumps off. Passengers queue out. Preacher man hops on to another, back to Kingston.