Episode – 11 – The Wedding
Recap: In the last episode we had a glimpse of how the TPM Clergy comes to be served and venerated, at the cottage meeting. The other believers were considered lower by the Daisy Family, not deserving of the special meal. We also saw how gentile mentality has guided the parents of Daisy to conduct the cottage meeting in their home. They are very worldly minded indeed.
Daisy’s cousin Vanessa is getting married. They live 250 miles away from Daisy’s place. Daisy and family are on the way to Vanessa’s home. As their car is cruising through the highway…
Daisy’s mom: I have changed my mind.
Daisy’s father: Does the new one work?
Daisy’s mom (ignoring husbands comment): Pastor said that anyone attending the marriage of TPM believer with other church Christian is a punishable crime. He will not be given communion for six months.
Daisy’s father (to Daisy’s mom): Say it now then! We can stop the car and you can turn back.
Daisy’s mom: Turn back and what? Become a pillar of salt, so that you can walk to your freedom? I am not Lot’s wife to make stupid mistakes.
Daisy’s father: Then what will you do? Lie to our saints that it was TPM and TPM marriage?
Daisy’s mom: Yeah, I will lie, but after you! The pastor will first ask you. Don’t you remember Sapphira followed Ananias? I will be with you till our last breath. We will live together and die together!
Daisy’s father: Listen, dear children. You mom’s dangerous plans. She wants to chew my head even after my death.
Everyone starts laughing. After a few hours of driving, they reach Vanessa’s home. Families reunited after a long time. They spend time together and take rest to be ready for the next day. They also have a lot of work to be done, today. Vanessa’s mom and Daisy’s family are going to Faith home to meet the servants of God. They will finalize wedding arrangements. As they enter the faith home, they see a painter painting bible verses on the front wall of the faith home. He sees Vanessa’s family and greets them with the standard “Praise the Lord“.
Joseph (to the painter): You said: “Praise the Lord“? Are you a T.P.M. believer?
Painter: We are all (pointing fingers to rest of the painters)! We came from Dhariwal centre.
Joseph (to the painter): You came from so far to south India to do the painting?
Painter: Only because the Pastor insisted! He has served in our area. He said painters in this town are asking for too much money to come here and do some work for God. Therefore, we had to come.
Daisy: Isn’t it expensive for you? Leaving your business and clients at your place and travelling so long?
Painter: Yeah it is! What can we do? The pastor has not yet given us money also. He says to buy paints from our own pocket money. He will give money when he will return from the convention. Last time in a Kottarakkara branch Faith home that Pastor gave only half the money and made us sign the vouchers for the complete amount. I had a similar incident even in Kolkata. Since then we are quite apprehensive about working for TPM.
Joseph is getting quite upset at the exploitation of the poor by the TPM Saints. He remembers that it is unjust to not pay the daily labourers and trick them to sign wrong vouchers.
14 Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:15 At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee. Deut 24:14-15
While the children (Daisy and Joseph) are talking with the painter believers, Daisy’s parents and Vanessa’s mom went into the Pastor’s room. They started discussing wedding arrangements. After a few minutes, they see an invitation card flying out of the pastor’s room. They run to see what happened. Vanessa’s mom came out and picked up the wedding invitation card. Daisy’s parents also came out of the Pastor’s chamber.
Joseph: What happened aunty?
Vanessa’s mom stays silent. Joseph can read pain in her eyes. She controls her tears and walks away towards the car.
Daisy’s mom: Come children! We must go.
Joseph: What happened, mom?
Daisy’s mom: Pastor is angry. He threw the invitation card. He doesn’t want any pictures of flowers on the wedding invitation card.
Joseph (loudly): But then why do they decorate flowers on coffin box of Chief Pastors? Why don’t the Pastor throw the coffin box of the chief Pastor?
Joseph shouts loudly as he wanted the pastor to hear.
Daisy covers his mouth with a hand and rebukes him. Daisy’s mom beats him on his back for shouting. They drag him to the car with them.
They all take their seats and the car leaves the faith home. Daisy’s father suggests to Vanessa’s mom to get 25 invitation cards, specially printed for the faith homes. Rest of the cards can be distributed to the relatives without the pastor’s information. Vanessa’s mom couldn’t control her emotions anymore and she begins to cry. She begins to pour out her heart. She says that as the groom is from an Independent Church, Pastor said he won’t solemnize marriage unless the groom is baptized in TPM. Groom’s parents were not ready. Marriage was on verge of breaking, but the groom succumbed. He took baptism in TPM.
Then sisters came for shopping for the bride’s clothes and also for Appachen and Ammachi. They said Vanessa’s mom to give new clothes to the servants of God in the faith home. They said all of you will wear new clothes and what about saints? Therefore, they took new clothes for the saints. Elder sister Suvarna also said Vanessa’s parents should invite saints from local faith homes and give each saint minimum ₹ 500 to sisters and ₹ 1000 to brothers, apart from ₹10000 to Pastor and ₹4000 to Ammachi. When Vanessa’s mother said this will increase marriage budget beyond their expectations, sister Suvarna argued saying it was the duty of Vanessa’s parents to give saints attending the marriage, at least the commutation fare. And after all this, The Pastor has now thrown their invitation and is threatening to boycott marriage at the last minute. The Pastor has instructed the Groom through Vanessa’s mom, that he need to strictly adhere to the White dress rule. Daisy’s mom is trying to comfort Vanessa’s mom. The situation inside the car is gloomy.
Joseph: Aunty! Look …. look (He is showing them billboard on road. It is a Raymond advertisement). I want the same suit for the wedding.
Daisy: Why? Are you getting married?
Daisy mom: Suits are not allowed in TPM. Even the bridegroom is forbidden to wear a suit in his own marriage!
Joseph: Why do then Chief Pastors wear black suits during foreign trips?
Vanessa’s mom: Joseph, I will get you the suit you wanted. These TPM pastors get all their desires fulfilled. They will decorate themselves with suits and boots. They will decorate their coffins with flowers. But when we want to do something, they will stop us. I have decided it’s enough with TPM. I will not let my children’s desires go unfulfilled.
Daisy mom: Ok .ok..! Let us not make decisions in a hurry.
Vanessa’s mom: Enough is enough! They behave rudely because we don’t say anything! We quietly listen and they misuse our silence. I will buy everything Joseph my children want! And dare they say a word, we will get our daughter married somewhere else.
Daisy father: You are right Veronica (Vanessa’s mom)! They think we are dependent on them and therefore they try to suppress us. Show them their place and all their arrogance will go away.
Daisy mom: Announcements are all made, and we have not even a week left. It will be difficult to make alternate arrangements so soon. So please calm down all of you.
Vanessa’s mom: What calm down Dorothy (Daisy’s mom)? Do you even know what Sister Ida told Vanessa?
Daisy mom: What did she say?
Vanessa’s mom: She said to Vanessa “Don’t get married. Come to ministry. You have a calling for Zion. And if you will marry then your children will die or your husband will divorce you. You will never have peace in your marriage.”
Daisy mom: Oh my God!
Vanessa’s mom: That is why I said, I am fed up with this marriage in TPM. They will try to make our marriages as bad as they can. Not one marriage in TPM happens without any issue. I am sure they will create problems on marriage day also.
Veronica (Vanessa’s mom) begins to cry again. Dorothy (Daisy’s mom) puts her arm around her and tries to comfort her. Joseph also puts his arms around his aunt. The car reaches home. Daisy’s father drops children and aunt at home and he will go to order for new wedding cards with a TPM Pastor Choice. Two days later he takes the new invitation card and gives it to the faith home. Everything is ready and in place for the big day. On the wedding day, they get Vanessa dropped to faith home early so that Ammachi can prepare her. Marriage ceremony begins on time at the TPM church premises. The Bride and the groom are wearing all white clothes. By the dress, the Groom could be mistaken as a chauffeur of a five-star hotel Car. Joseph feels thirsty and he walks around faith home in search on water. Passing by he sees a junior worker brother from a window locked in his room.
Joseph: Come to the wedding? Why are you sitting here all alone here?
Worker brother: I will be joining the ministry. The pastor said I cannot see or attend the wedding.
Worker brother: It is TPM rule. Those who are going to join the ministry should not attend any marriage ceremony; otherwise, they will feel tempted to get married.
Joseph: But Jesus took all his disciples to the wedding of Cana. He never prohibited his disciples from participating in marriages!!
The worker brother has a blank confusing look on his face. Joseph shakes his head in dismay and returns to the marriage hall. The Sermon begins and In the long sermon, he could not avoid noticing the disdain, the pastor has for the marriage. The pastor has finished his sermon and he asks the bride and bridegroom to repeat the Vow after him. After the final blessings, Ammachi gave both the bride and the groom, a cup to drink from.
Joseph (to Daisy): What is that for?
Daisy: Its cup of milk, stupid! It is white in colour. A sign of purity! Everything in TPM is white. They marry in white. They drink white. It is all about white holiness.
Joseph: Did Jesus turn water into milk at the wedding of Cana? Jesus gave all the red drink. He started his ministry by the miracle of wine and ended by giving wine, and it was red. Even the blood he shed for our forgiveness was red. It was all red. Red versus White!!
Daisy knows it is her headache to handle the wit of Joseph. She moves away from him and joins her mother and Vanessa’s mom. The marriage ceremony is finally complete. The worker sisters’ faces displaying the cocktail of regret and envy. They are praying on food and the pastor is given the first plate. Joseph remembers that when Jesus gave food to his disciples, he first gave to the 5000 people instead of himself eating first. He waited till last, at the wedding of Cana. Similarly, even in the last supper, Jesus gave to the disciples first. Why do then TPM saints eat the very first meal before serving others? He hopes that someday a saint will answer his question.
He could see the centre Appachen sitting in a special chair after the meal. He has a smirk of satisfaction for having made Vanessa’s parents and the Groom’s Family dance to his tunes.
(NB: The above are inspired by real-life experiences of TPM marriages. TPM Fanatics are advised to get their children married before commenting).