On Sunday evening millions of people were gathered in pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants across the world to watch the World Cup final. Many in Africa wanted to celebrate the first World Cup held on African soil. Kampala was no different; that is, until twin bombs exploded in Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopian Village restaurant, brutally shattering joy and destroying lives. 74 people died in the blasts. One of them was a young women who I met when Liz and I spent time working in Kampala with Nakawa Baptist Church in the summer of 2006. She was young, beautiful, talented, and had many friends, a partner and a gorgeous young son, who will all have to try and live without her. Her death has left her friends understandably shocked, angry and devastated.
I have found myself experiencing a cocktail of emotions that I cannot understand. I grieve the pain that my friends are experiencing. I'm relieved that more of my friends weren't hurt. I'm angered by the seemingly random brutality demonstrated by those who planned and carried out the bombings. I feel helpless, because I'm a continent away and there is nothing I can do, except pray.
What bothers me about my reaction is not that this has affected me so much, but that I haven't been affected as much by the countless bombings that have taken place before. It's like I've had compassion fatigue. Why has it taken a bombing in a place I know that has affected people I know to make me sit up, take notice and pray for an end to senseless violence. Oh, I've prayed for peace before - more times than I can remember. But this time, my whole body, mind, and spirit is united in asking God if the violence could stop. It's about time that I woke up and cared for the world God created. It's about time I lived John Donne's notion that "any man's death diminishes me". It's about time I prayed for justice and peace like I've never prayed before.
Lord, forgive me for not caring as much as I should do for the brokenness so evident in your world.
Please bring justice, peace and healing to all those who hurt.
Please be with all those, including my friends, who have lost someone they love so dearly.
Show them your love for them.
May they know your loving presence surrounding and comforting them.
May your kingdom come, your will be done in this world of yours. Amen.
Katasi Samalie, may you rest in everlasting peace in the arms of the God who loves you and created you.