Faith in the Sudan
Cover us with your wingsMarc R. Nikkel's English translation of a Christian hymn written by the Dinka of The Sudan, quoted in the Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand's article Faith in Sudan.
Like a bird covers her chicks;
Embrace us intimately, O God, hold us intimately
In these bad years
So that we may have life through faith in you.
Look upon us, O Creator who made us.
God of all peoples,
We are yearning for our land,
That we may pray to you in freedom.
Hear the prayer of our souls in the wilderness
Hear the prayer of our bones in the wilderness
Hear our prayer as we call out to you
Hear the cry of our hearts in the wilderness.
His work is also cited at Dr. Stephen Cook's Biblische Ausbildung concerning Sudanese readings of scripture and which stories stand out from their perspective:
Among texts of the Hebrew Bible of special interest to Christians in Sudan are Psalm 68:31 and Zephaniah 3:9-10. The Sudanese often see the former text to be an announcement of the blossoming of Christian faith that Sudan has now been seeing. The psalm declares that though Egypt and Cush (read Sudan) were formerly hostile to God's people, they will certainly turn to God.In certain times and places, some of scripture speaks more directly than other parts. For example, the story of The Exodus spoke powerfully to slaves in this country in the 1800s.
Like Psalm 68, Zephaniah 3:9-10 speaks of new worshippers turning to God from "beyond the rivers of Cush." Sudan is the land of the "two Niles," so a reference to "rivers [plural] of Cush" really hits home to the Sudanese. That the African people are called "dispersed ones" here also hits home hard in light of the huge refugee crises in Sudan. In modern times, millions of Sudanese people have been displaced both within Sudan and externally to surrounding countries.
I notice that in our own context some stories from scripture are also much more popular than others. Some often mentioned to me are 1) The parable of The Prodigal Son, 2) The woman caught in adultery, 3) The Thief on the Cross, and 4) The Samaritan Woman at the Well. Though I find the Psalms are also very popular, but more generally, and other than Psalm 23 not so specifically. This short list is VERY unscientific. What stories from scripture do you think are favored here in our little corner of the Kingdom of God? Not so much, what are your favorites, but what do you think are our culture's favorite?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
Yesterday's sermon is online here: Believe What You Breathe.