Sunday at the burnt out Lutheran church we blogged about last weekend, from the Los Angeles Times:
In Nairobi’s slum district of Kibera, people prayed for peace Sunday under the charred cross and blackened walls of the burned Lutheran church. But in the narrow alleys just 100 yards away, the thugs with machetes still rule.
When the service ended, the parishioners in their Sunday best walked home through neighborhoods still teetering on a knife’s edge.
. . . . . . . . .
More than 300 people have died in the violence.
When one parishioner, Rebecca Muthoni, a 38-year-old Kikuyu, plodded to the Lutheran church Sunday, her heart was heavy. Muthoni’s shack and the kindergarten where she taught children had been torched, as well as her church.
As Pastor Dennis Meeker prayed, Muthoni fell to the ground, tears flowing from her eyes, crying out hysterically: “Forgive them! Forgive them!”
As she yelled, Meeker repeated over and over, “We shall persevere.”
“My pain is really deep,” she said after the service. “I am feeling bad in my heart. I have no house and no job. And I am the only breadwinner in the family.”
The fire left the church walls intact, but there was a black scar on the wall behind the altar with a white patch in the center. Meeker plans to leave it there to remind people what happened in Kibera over the past week. He said Tuesday’s attack by looters could destroy the building but not the church, and urged the congregation to forgive.
“You struggle with anger. You struggle with weeping,” said Meeker, an American who arrived from Iowa in September. “I don’t think you can make sense out of it. In fact, this is caused by politicians because we were really living in peace and going along well until the presidential election.”
A friend of mine who has done mission work in Kenya and who has sources there says that two other Lutheran churches in the countryside were burned. She heard that 35 parishioners taking refuge in one of the church buildings perished in the flames. I can’t find any other references to that. Does anyone know?
Conditions are said to be much improved now, but we need to be praying for the people and churches of Kenya. May they all display that spirit of the grieving woman who cried out not for retribution against the people who destroyed her home, her livelihood, and her church but that God would forgive them.