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Friday, April 15, 2022

Plot Twist: Friday

 Last night we celebrated Passover with our team and visitors, the story of the deliverance of the enslaved Israelites in a foreign land miraculously delivered. Which is the same commemorative meal that Jesus celebrated with his friends, his last night. 

On a week that included the shouting hopeful excitement of Palm Sunday's entrance, and the annual meal that celebrates God's powerful ordering of history to rescue his people, one can only imagine that by Thursday night the inner group around Jesus were poised for a solidly good ending to the story. All signs pointed to prophecy fulfilled, a new King established, in the company of winners.

And frankly in some ways our week could look that way too. We welcomed visitors on Tuesday with a pizza party at our house, a team from another country where our NGO works, including very good friends who used to work here. And Wednesday we spent the entire day at Christ School to commemorate the new Chapel completed this year. It's more than a building by far. It's a concrete symbol of the synergy of global partnership, funds raise by parents of Serge missionaries to bless parents of Bundibugyo by creating the largest and most functional meeting space in the District, a beautiful and safe hall where we worship and learn. Scott has poured immeasurable energy into this project over the last couple years and many others as well. To see it complete, in spite of COVID, school shutdowns, budget stress and lack, shows this community that God sees and rescues and cares. Every top political leader in the District came, and in their speeches we were moved to hear them referring to the spiritual character development CSB emphasises along with academic excellence. Yes, that is the core value of our team and our staff, to model and teach servant leadership and to promote education for women. But to hear the unsolicited recognition that this is happening, out of the mouths of our parliamentarians and governor-level people, to see alumnae attending and to have evidence that the slow deep changes of heart are being manifested through them, was very gratifying.  School is back with our biggest enrollment ever, we have a committed staff, and we all hope COVID is ebbing and life is improving.


So by Thursday it would be natural to think, here we are in 2022, and the plot is finally moving to a good chapter. Friends, visitors, songs, poems, food, reunion, fellowship, worship, hope. The disciples of Jesus probably thought they could predict the next chapter too.

But Friday.

Plot twist.

Sleepy with the four cups of passover wine, the sumptuous meal of lamb and unleavened breads and dried dates and honey and sauces, reclined in the garden trying to appear holy in prayer, who would have seen that the end of the world as we know it was on the way. Betrayal, sham trials, scourging, abandonment, shame. Instead of enthronement, within hours Jesus is being brutally impaled by spikes, attached to a cross with two criminals, mocked, dehydrated, dying. Dead.

From the Biola Lent series
Today we resonate with the bewilderment of those friends who waved the palm branches and poured the passover wine. Everything seemed to be on track, the right group improving, even winning. So the unexpected (though he tried so many times to tell them) killing of Jesus, their unexpected aloneness, must have been devastating. And we resonate because our own stories keep having plot twists that don't yet fit resurrection's dreams. One of our visitors delivered her baby prematurely in January, and even then we thought, OK it will be some long weeks in the hospital but surely "we trusted in God let Him deliver us since He delights in us" . . . only to see little Titus die in a Nairobi hospital a few days later. What? Even this week with its glimpses of glory has ended with a disturbing thievery incident,  team and visitors struggling with sickness, setbacks in news from other places, and always the personal struggles of being a bit impaired and weak and slow. The temptation is always there to think, wait, this isn't the way it was supposed to work out. War in Ukraine, terribly divisive politics, a brutal police shooting of a Congolese immigrant in America during a traffic stop, not to mention Congolese in Congo killed by rebels, unrest in Jerusalem, increased hunger. We instinctively feel, this is not supposed to be the way the story moves.

Today we sit in the dissonance. The end is promised, not seen. The Friday and Saturday and into Sunday punch of loss is hard. We wait for the plot to twist back.


mercygraceword said...

Sitting in the dissonance with you... thankful Sunday's coming.
Again... so thankful you take the time and thoughtfulness to write.

Sarah said...

Rejoicing with the chapel completion, the global synergy, the generous gifts of so many parents who sent us to Bundibugyo and who continue to support the work there ♥️♥️

And too, with you in feeling the dissonance and longing for the not yet Kingdom. This line will stick with me, “we resonate because our own stories keep having plot twists that don't yet fit resurrection's dreams.” Wow. Yes and amen. And how we keep pressing into the dissonance with Easter hope and yet the reality of this broken, full of plot twists world.