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Saturday, December 20, 2008

On Shepherds

One of the privileges of life in Uganda:  real life, real time, Biblical imagery happening all around us.  Today, the shepherds are in my thoughts, perhaps because I had to bike through a fearsome herd of cattle on my way down to the hospital, their bony hips and sturdy horns threatening to knock me as I made my way through.  Cows are highly valued as the most desirable Christmas feast, but this is not a cow culture (Bundibugyo's economy has tended towards goats, smaller and more scrappy and independent than cows).  We live in the jungle, actually, steep ravines and bushy valleys, mazes of crops and homesteads, paths and compounds. This is not open range grassland, so any cows have to be kept on the move, grazing elephant grass on the roadsides, herded out of someone's sweet potato garden.  Each herd of anywhere from four to forty leathery beasts is accompanied by several teenage boys, cocky, wielding sticks, caps pulled down, half-attention to the cows and half to anything else of interest along the way.  These are the kids who did not thrive in school, who walk miles, who subsist on very little, who make rude comments from the safety of their gang of fellow-herders.  

And so as I note with annoyance that they are not making much effort to clear me a path, and are talking about me as I pass, I am caught by my own heart.  Would I entrust these boys with the most important news of all time?  If I had something of eternal impact to communicate, would I do it through them?  No.  But God would.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful analogy, Jennifer. Reminds me of the play Gideon by Paddy Chayevsky, where Gideon keeps refusing the job for reasons that are completely correct. How good of you to see God's potential tools in these rude dirty boys. May God bless you. Judy in HMB