Burning Bush; 2015; 22" x 30"; in honor of the Kenyan Christians who died on April 2, 2015; watercolor.

Burning Bush; 2015; 22″ x 30″; in honor of the Kenyan Christians who died on April 2, 2015; watercolor.

You cannot put out the light. It is like an unruly spark. When you try to suppress it, it divides into a thousand flying embers.

You thought you extinguished the light when they lay dead at your feet, no longer praying to the God you despise; but look around, it ignites in my heart! It blazes in hearts around the world.

Just like any normal morning, they gathered before dawn to pray. Young people, students, full of life and dreams, completely unaware of danger lurking nearby. Surely for many, the final days of the Savior flashed through their minds: the Last Supper followed by Jesus’ arrest on Thursday, crucifixion on Friday, resurrection on Sunday. Yes, the night of the morning they gathered to pray would mark the seeming triumph of evil, the night when Jesus was betrayed and arrested:  a night splintering into a day when light seemed extinguished forever. But they knew, as they slipped quietly through pre-dawn chill, that Sunday would come; Easter would surely crack open the impossible oppressive black.

They fell where they gathered to pray, defenseless, Christian Union students brutally killed by al Shabab before morning light dispelled night’s shadows.

If you put the gun to my head, I imagine I will feel fear beyond comprehension; but if you pull the gun away, I will whisper the words of the One I serve and adore, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

If you pull the trigger, terror will instantaneously burst into joy beyond my imagination. I will worship Him face-to-face. I will worship beside my Kenyan brothers and sisters.

I see them there, those young people, incredulous –moments after gathering to pray, dancing and singing, faces ablaze with His glory, in the very Presence of the One to Whom they prayed.

Their violent deaths incense me, and yet inflame a burning bush in my heart. With shocking clarity between good and evil, drastic mercy reveals what is temporary and what lasts. More than ever before, I am confident:  darkness is passing, light is eternal.

You had your day. You stomped on the sparks; you scattered the embers far and wide.

On Friday Jesus died. On Sunday He rose again.

24 thoughts on “An Open Letter to al Shabab, and a Painting in Honor of the Kenyans Who Died

    • I thought and hoped that writing this piece would help ease the fire in my bones, but it seems to fan the flames even more. Reading today in Kenya’s national paper, the Nation, that all 22 of the Christian Union students who gathered to pray were slaughtered – there are no words…

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  1. In God we trust for no weapon fashioned against us by the enemy shall prosper in Jesus name. Those who died because of their faith in Christ are resting in eternal peace even as they lie in death. May God comfort the affected families of the 142 students who died and heal scores of others who were injured and are in hospitals. Indeed our God will repay for us for this brutal acts against innocent students at Garissa University College (Kenya).

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  2. The innocent blood that has bleeds in the nation of my soil and my country for our young people even though their body are sleeping but their blood are speaking before Almighty God they will raised up.

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  3. In the memorial prayer service yesterday in Nairobi organised by the Fellowship of Christian Unions for the departed heros of faith, the speakers words (Mathew 10:28) we indeed reassuring “do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul …” the terrorists can only kill the body and not the soul and “we are worth more than many sparrows… of which none falls apart from the will of the father.” There is hope for the believers who die in him. They only lose the body but not the soul.

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  4. Pingback: Mercy in Kenya

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