Monday, 2 July 2012

The Blood of the Martyrs

It  is another Monday and again the nation is engulfed in grief. It is difficult to imagine what must be goin on in the minds of the victims of yesterday’s terrorism in Garissa and their immediate kin. The entire body of Christ is hurting as we identify with our brothers and sisters who had gone to church on an ordinary Sunday morning (like you and I did, albeit at different places) to worship. This account particularly caught my attention from The Nation;

“A saloon car drove into the church compound, and two hooded men alighted. They walked the 15 or so metres to where the armed policemen were seated.
They drew their pistols and shot the officers in their heads. They blew off their scalps.

The driver of the saloon car — none of those who spoke to the Nation had the presence of mind to write down the registration number — turned the vehicle to face the gate, ready for a quick getaway.

With the policemen dead, the two turned their wrath on the church and the congregation inside.The men then fired bullets on a window of the church. At the same time, they threw a grenade at the entrance to ensure they trapped those in the church. It exploded.

They continued shooting, pinning their targets on the ground. They walked to the door of the church, still shooting. They then threw another grenade and then another one. All of them exploded. Having accomplished their mission, the men ran outside, jumped into the car and sped off. In the church, nine people lay dead.

Meanwhile, another saloon car was parked on the road to Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church, about three kilometres away. Two occupants alighted and moved to different locations along the church’s fence. They threw two grenades but one did not explode. They ran back to the car and sped off.

The man who threw the grenade that didn’t explode had got into the compound and after hurling it, jumped over the fence and got into the car that sped off. Those interviewed could not remember the car’s make or model.

At the hospitals, seven casualties were operated on. Two had multiple gunshot wounds to the chest while another two had shots in their abdomens.
Three other victims suffered multiple injuries in several parts of the body, multiple gunshot to the head and soft tissue injuries respectively.

Thirty-three victims admitted to the provincial general hospital were in stable condition. Twenty three were treated and discharged at the sub-district hospital and the nursing home.1

One cant help but feel vulnerable to this kind of extremely heinious act of terrorism. However, I have a few raw reflections (general wonderments) from the incidence;
  • -        How does this event fit in the grand scheme of things?
  • -        Is this an event in isolation with nothing to do with end times and everything to do with Al Shabab/KDF issues?
  • -        Will these incidences increase in our time or decrease? This is not the first attack in a church this year.
  • -        How prepared are we as a body of believers to face increased hatred, even persecution, at the academy (ideological), in the marketplace, public square and in the street corner?
  • -        What spiritual resources do we have to draw from in times like these? Will the man-centered feel-good-you-are-great gospel equip the church for difficult times?
  • -        How ready are you and I to face such an event should it occur to you or someone you know/close to you?
  • -        How should we respond at these levels: Personally, Missiologicaly and Theologically?

I do not have the answers but my heart goes out to our brothers and sisters who had to face such violent deaths and injuries in the place where they had gone to seek solace for their weary souls. I am however encouraged by the words of an ancient North African theologian – Tertullian, who lived during an era of great persecution of the church, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. 

1. Zadock Angira, The Daily Nation, 2nd July 2012