The Work of the People

APR 27, 2015 - Visual Epistles

Resurrection as Life

The shadow of death covered Burundi on October 25, 1993, one of worst days of the Burundi Civil War. At the same time, Maggy Barankitse  was providing food and shelter to 25 children at her school, Maison Shalom (House of Peace). In an act of vengeance, a group of Tutsi came into the town of Ruyigi to hunt down Hutus who were hiding in the town’s Catholic diocese buildings. Because Maggy was Tutsi, the mob spared her life, although they bound her in a chair, stripped her of all her clothing, and slaughtered over 70 of her friends in front of her. Barankitse, who has been honored with numerous awards for her humanitarian work, talks about how in the hopelessness of death, life still wins. 

Questions for Reflection 

1.Barankitse begins by saying, “I think life always takes the last word.” “It is always life that wins, never death,” she adds. Barankitse shares that 60 people from her family and 72 of her friends were massacred in the Burundi civil war. How can Barankitse say, “life wins,” in the midst of this death and violence? What is the hope of the gospel that overcomes death? 

2.Barankitsesaysthatshehas“othereyes”thatcomefromtheseexperiences. Her children’s shelter, Maison Shalom, was birthed from the perspective that “We are able put the candle among the darkness.” For Barankitse, even a small light will expel the darkness. How can we develop an alternative perspective against violence? In other words, how can we move beyond “an eye for an eye” justice? 

3.Barankitse shares, “My problem was not about victims. I opened it for killers, because I want to stop them from killing.” She adds, “Because victims have no problems in [their] conscience; everyone has compassion and pity for them. But for the criminal, nobody [has compassion for them]. God gave his Son for them also.” How do we often think of perpetrators of violence? How might we develop this attitude toward our enemies? 

4. “Does love go that far?” Barankitse responds, “Of course. If there was love, why must God be on the cross? He came for our sin. He came not just because he wanted to be on the cross...He showed that [he] was the winner, and we are the winners.” How does God reveal God’s love to us? How is this love demonstrated to us both in the biblical witnesses and in our own experiences? 

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We believe there is an alternative narrative to the prevalent narrative of scarcity and fear. We believe God is moving and is behind an alternative narrative of abundance and freedom, a narrative in which fear gets defeated and love wins.

We believe God’s narrative requires we altǝr our perspective, that we step, in faith, into God’s upside down reality. In God’s reality we listen for, live and speak God’s upside down voice of faith, hope and love, not striving for ourselves but serving our neighbor. For all these reasons, this is Altǝr.

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