Monday, June 14, 2010
my grace, wasn't it you that gathered me up under your wing?
What was it? oh yeah, as a mother hen gathers her chicks.
We had one of our traditional family dinners. Mumee made Chapati and Dengu.
I made chilli from my sisters recipe. It was my father's birthday, we think he is turning 52, but non of us are quite sure. His mother could tell you the season of his birth, if it was raining or if it was night, the rest of the details are for us to fill in. Somehow the eating, laughing, and story telling turns into a kind of bible charades. My mother and father were swept up in the 1970s revivals in East Africa that resulted in the shift of Christendom from Cities of Europe and North America to cities like Kampala and Nairobi. We were raised on scripture as if it was a daily staple....and that's why it is fun to see who can still get through a psalm from memory.
So, I love Jesus. It's just a fact of my existence. Yesu Christo is my Wounded Healer. So while I hate colonialism and the oppressive missionary context through which Christianity was brought to my people, and while I feel it is my calling to recover the narratives, mythos, and indigenous spiritual expression of my people....I try to live my journey as a follower of Christ.
In my walk I find myself in a constant, deep, sometimes overwhelming and immediate interaction with people who are vulnerable to societal suffering or oppression. Sometimes I'm broken, other times I'm filled with anger and resolve, and more often than I like, I have like an arrogant passion.
When this drawing first came to me, I was thinking about the struggle between gratitude and suffering. They pull towards each other and push against each other, like the dance of a tide. Sometimes when I'm lost in post-colonial literature or preparing a report for local politicians, I forget the ways in which my own voice can oppress. And I forget to honor the suffering of those very close to me, to allow it sacred space. But today my father reminded me, "Fanis, we must remember to show grace"
My father joins the game of charades and throws in John 14:1.
My father was a preacher and very harsh when we were young. Once I was having a nightmare when I was a child and called out loud. In a temper he locked me outside in the night. I have never slept in total darkness since then. Today I wanted to plant a vegetable garden so he handed me his tools. I told him that I missed my best friend, I'm sad and angry. "Fanis, we must remember to show grace".
My father was a preacher, I am more of a story-teller, and I do like the story near the end of the Book of St John the Apostle.
First you call them "My Children"
This is not so typical of you My Grace! But it does make me feel like that time you gathered me under your wing, remember, how did you put it again? Like a hen gathers her chicks.
"My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, Where I am going, you cannot come.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
And then I ask you My Grace:
"Lord, where are you going?"
And you say:
"Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
My grace, when you walk past me like this, even though I know I am your child, when your skirts brush up briskly against my fingers, and then you are gone, I become scared of the dark, so please, before you go, give me gratitude.
You talk a little bit more, but I want to get to the part that I love. Now it's only a few more chapters before the end, but first you say:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. "