Many years ago, the country that we currently know as Southern Sudan did not exist. It was part of the greater Sudan. The northern and southern Sudan are culturally and religiously different. The north is predominantly Arab and Muslim, and the south is predominantly Sub-Saharan African, and largely Christian. These cultural and religious differences became triggers of long-term conflicts between the north and the south of Sudan. Many Southern Sudanese ended up growing up in refugee camps in Uganda and the neighboring countries.
“Come to me all of you who labor and are burdened - I will give you rest” We have all gone through seasons when we felt overwhelmed or exhausted by things that were going on in our lives. This might have been brought about by challenging circumstances in our personal lives, in our family, in our friendships, in our workplace, in clubs to which we belong, in our neighborhood, in our Church, in our country, or in our world. Times when we laid down to rest at night, and sleep wouldn’t come. Times when we turned and twisted in our bed half the night. Times when we woke up, our heart racing and our head pounding about the same things.
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I grew up near Lake Victoria - Africa’s biggest freshwater lake. It is in the same area where the Nile River starts its three-month long journey to Egypt. While I grew up near these two important waterbodies, I never really learned how to fish well. This is because good fishing is an art. It requires a specific personality and particular qualities for it to be fruitful.
Anyone who has visited ancient cities such as Jerusalem, Babylon, Rome, Athens, Sparta, Memphis and Thebes, is shocked at how immense and beautiful these ancient cities must have looked in the prime of their days. I have been blessed to visit Rome, Jerusalem, and Memphis – which is not too far away from modern day Cairo. I was shocked looking at the gigantic archeological sites and how big the buildings must have been.
“I am not a saint. I am not a saint!” “Please do not get me wrong, I am no saint either!” These common expressions tell of a popular perception of saints. They speak of an understanding of saints as men and women who are perfect in everything and as people who live an out-of-this-world life. This perception is not accurate. While there are saints who live in heaven, there are also saints on earth trying their best to live out the gospel.
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. He was a writer and physician who labored to portray for us in the Scriptures the gentleness and compassion of the Lord. He wrote several stories about Jesus healing the sick, or Jesus looking out for the poor and other kinds of people on the margins of society. Luke’s background as a physician certainly contributed to his special concern for the poor, the suffering, the outcasts, and women.