This is a short play which reminds us of our watch night mass on 31st December every year. Enjoy as the Memorable Watch Night Services of TPM continue to roll into the next Gregorian Calendar year. Click here for other Plays.
I looked at my table. The Calendar is announcing the end of the year. Today is 31st December 2020. Just beside the table, my window is open. The fading shadows of 2020 are receding to the oblivion. The Garden is becoming dimmer by the minute. The Sun has fully crossed over to the west. Then I looked at my laptop and re-engaged myself in browsing a website. Suddenly, I heard my Mom’s voice.
Mom: “Molly, its already 5:00 PM… Get at least an hour of sleep…. Don’t sleep during the meeting… ”.
Oh Lord…! My mom would wake me by 6:00. Only one hour of time to sleep! The Meeting starts at 7:00 PM and I will be deprived the night’s rest for which God actually made the night. I will have to start a New Gregorian Year by breaking the God-ordained system, in order to please God! I quickly closed the lid of my laptop and jumped on my bed. Then I pulled the thick blanket in an attempt to fall asleep soon.
But I could not sleep. Somehow I managed to fall in deep sleep, just as Jesus went to sleep in the ship that was caught in waves of the terrible tempest (Matt 8:23-27). I feel so sad when I remember that even the winds obey the rebuke of Jesus, but our TPM leaders, when will they learn to obey Christ?
In the Dream
I began to dream. I found myself in the watch night meeting of 2019. I was sitting in the believer’s area. Sister Esther was standing in front of the congregation and giving her usual testimony.
Esther: “So many saints and believers who started the year with me, have died. Truly thousands fell on my left and ten thousand on right, but God led me victoriously to the end of this year.”…bla bla bla…
A Typical Testimony
Thoughts crossed Molly’s mind as she listens to Esther’s testimony. “Every year this Esther gives the same testimony. Every year she testifies that she is blessed to be alive while other men have died. Someday she will also die. At the end of that year, someone else will give testimony to have victoriously crossed the year! Esther will be defeated by her definition that year.”
Molly continues to think. “Every faith home in every place must be having people like Esther who would be repeating the same things every year. These people are like trained robots who train new robots on how to speak every year. If my mother allowed me to speak my heart out, I would rather shout, “For me to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).” Yes! To be with the Lord is so blessed for me compared to continue to live on earth. These people must be embarrassing God in front of angels by saying that they are more thankful to him for not taking their souls to heaven and letting them live one more year on earth.
I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;Phil 1:23
Elder brother John, who is heading the meeting proceedings, breaks Molly’s train of thoughts, by loudly shouting from the microphone kept before him – sthotharam sthotharam… sthotharam. By his loud chant of sthotharam sthotharam, he is not praising God, but rather, he is trying to forcibly stop Esther from letting her finish her testimony. Centre Pastor has instructed the elder John to strictly start the meeting by 9:30 PM.
Molly lifts her head and glances towards elder John. Sister Esther had left her place and she is back to her seat in the front row. She is a little embarrassed that the elder brother did not let her finish her testimony, but she understands that meeting must start on time. Otherwise, the pastor will continue the meeting till 5:00 AM in the morning.
The VIP Pastor
People from far and remote places of the city have travelled miles and miles, and they have reached for the meeting, before time. But the Centre Pastor has not yet arrived yet. It generally takes 40 seconds for the Center Pastor to cover the distance between his room and the meeting hall, compared to one and half hour journey of the believers coming from remote places of the town.
Molly begins to envy the centre pastor’s privilege of getting his place, even though he arrives at 11:00 PM. Molly’s mother had shouted several times to get her ready by 6:30 pm and they reached the meeting hall by 6:45 PM and lo, their leader is still relaxing on his bed. But then it was needed for her case, as a little delay would have left her with no place to sit. The meeting hall was already jam-packed when she arrived, except for the place where the centre pastor sits.
People who came before Molly had booked their place by keeping their bibles and handkerchiefs. Handkerchiefs and bibles are like legal documents in TPM meeting hall. The place where the bible is kept, legally belongs to the owner of the bible. That place then needs not the owner of the bible to be present there. He may roam in the faith home ground and can freely go to the toilet and get a cup of tea. Some people, however, are so menial that they push the holy bibles aside and encroach upon the land booked by the believer in the meeting hall.
Little Pinky, the daughter of Mrs Matthew is one such spoiled brat. She usually sits uptight when the meeting starts and gradually as the meeting approaches midnight, she will go into a deep sleep and thus she will subtly encroach upon the area of at least two people.
The Puzzle of TPM Hymns
Sisters have started singing the song to begin the last worship of this Gregorian year. Songs for the meeting have been selected by specialist workers who are known as singers in TPM. The skills and talent required for selecting songs for the watch night service need to be mastered by spending ages in the ministry. One cannot randomly sing any worship song during watch night meetings.
Special songs having words and phrases like “THANK, PRESERVED”, are to be sung for the last worship of the year, and the hymns chosen for the first meeting of the new year must have words like “new beginning, new birth, new anointing, old have passed away etc.” Then the index number of songs chosen out 400 plus songs in the TPM hymn book are written on a chit of a paper and kept in special hymn books of the pastor, elder brother and Ammachi.
You must be aware of special hymn books reserved for the servants of God. They are identified to be distinct from those which are used by believers by special gift wrapping covers. When Molly was new in TPM, she used to think that the hymn books for the servants of god must be having special songs, which only they can sing, – maybe they might be having holy songs with holy anointing which cannot be touched by married sinners.
But luckily she got a chance to encounter the truth when she accidentally got a hand to scan through the special hymn books. To her amazement, she discovered that like the outward clothing of saints, their special hymn books were also covered with special cover from outside only. Inwardly there was no difference. However, unlike their clothes, the covering of the books could be coloured.
Many worker sisters are so happy to have successfully begun the year in the fellowship of the saints and end it with saints. Sister Ruth however is one of the few sisters who had run with their boyfriends from the faith home even though they entered the year by filling in tongues.
The Snack Delivery Team
Molly was so lost in these thoughts that she did not realize that the ‘service of songs’ and ‘the sermon of the pastor’ had finished and people started making noise to welcome the New year. She glanced through the window amidst the unbiblical chaos of TPM and noticed that few believers had arrived with sacks full of snacks which the pastor had ordered from the local shop. As Jerry was parking his vehicle, a junior brother came running to pick the snacks. He handed Jerry keys of his room and ran back towards meeting hall. Brother Edwin who had been out all this while said to the pack of believers,
Edwin (worker): “Hurry up brothers….! Only five minutes left for the New Year to begin”.
All the believers who were part of the privileged society of “snack shopping team,” hurried back into the meeting hall. The golden moment was about to take place. The Centre pastor has begun the “year–ending” “TPM–stopwatch” by shouting loudly “5 more minutes left, 4 minutes left, 2 minutes left… and so on,” None of the TPM believers wanted to miss the golden minute when the earth was to begin its new round of rotation and revolution around the sun.
They all firmly believed that they must enter the New Year while being filled in the spirit. Finally, the prized flick of the second of the “Gregorian Calendar” happened, which was announced by the pastor, who had been sleeping on his bed till 11:30 pm. The Pastor said, “We have entered the New Year.” People started jumping madly, as the pastor declared the shout of victory. In no time Sister Ruth who would be eloping with her boyfriend this January started a prophecy with shrieking sound,
The Prophetess and her Prophecy
Sister Ruth (prophesying): “xyzabc ..xyzabc Behold My People, I have come from Zion to bless you !!! My People…My People.. xyzabc ..xyzabc….I have seen your tears and heard your prayers. I am about to do a new thing. Egyptians which you see now you will see them no longer… xyzabc xyz abc… I will glorify my name. I will bless you and make you fruitful this new year… xyzabc..xyzabc….”
Molly was wondering, how does the “xyzabc” spoken by Sister Ruth, in the unknown tongues, translated differently every time? When the first time she spoke “xyzabc” she translated it as “My People”.. then the next time as she pronounced, “xyzabc” she translated it as “I have seen your tears and heard you prayers.” It was different than Mene mene tekel Upharsin used in Daniel where each phrase had different meaning (Dan 5:25-26).
Excitement among the people assembled was so high, that they would not let sister finish her prophecy. They all hurried into their own infilling of spirit. Sister Ruth kept shouting her prophecy but people refused to listen to her voice and began shouting their own tongues. Molly could not understand the single word that prophetess Ruth was shouting.
Anyways after sister Ruth, many other prophecies came as it was a rain of prophecies. All of the prophetesses of TPM from two-three local Faith Homes had assembled at centre faith home for the watch night. They all spoke of blessed New Year 2020. Little did anyone realize that the prophetesses of TPM had no idea of impending Corona which would put an end to all TPM meetings for the entire year!
New Year Testimony
Soon the chaos ended like the boiling water returns to the normal temperature. People got seated and sisters started singing New Year hymns. After songs, it was time for the New year testimony and this time brother Peter stood up to make his New Year resolutions.
Peter (believer): “I thank God for the new year he has given in my life. Last year I was unfaithful to him and yet he was faithful towards me. Last year I made a resolution to read the bible twice a year and I could only complete bible one and half times. This year God has put in my heart to make resolutions to read bible seven times. I request your prayers so that God should help me in keeping my promise to God.
I wish to end my little testimony by telling you the dream God gave me. I saw a bright light when I was seated on my knees. Then the voice spoke to me you must not forsake the fellowship of my saints. So my resolution for this year is that I will attend all meetings and all conventions this year faithfully. Pray for me and my family. Praise The Lord.
Few more believers gave their typical TPM testimony and then began the service of English song. As sisters sang English hymn, youths moved with a tea tray filled with promise cards. Molly began picking all as she wanted all promises not just one. Sister Eunice who knew the naughty Molly scolded her.
The Closing Session and Dismissal
Then the pastor started his sermon. He first gave the promise verse of the year. Then he asked believers to take a pen and copy and note the 12 promises God gave him for the church for every month. He cited revelation and the tree in the garden that gave 12 fruits each month.
Molly felt the urge to shout and ask for promise verse for every day, every hour, every second, every millisecond and every nanosecond. But then she somehow controlled her inner desire thinking that her mother would kill her for this if she dared to say this. Anyways pastor took 1 hour 3 minutes and ended the meeting at 3:30 am in the morning. Then there was the Holy communion for one hour and snacks were distributed. Pastor announced one calendar for every family. Soon the nightmare of New Year meeting ended and Molly woke from her sleep.
Molly woke from her sleep and realized that it was a dream. Thankfully for her, this year there is no watch night meeting in her TPM Faith Home.
End of “Memorable Watch Night Services of TPM“