Monday, January 05, 2009

Preaching at Lozoh

Dan Handschy

Deb G and I went yesterday to Lozoh. Sosthen came along to translate for me. Gordon to do some business, John and William to make sure we were taken care of, and Archdeacon Festus (of Lozoh archdeaconry) to introduce us.

The first half of the journey there (on the good road) went very quickly. The second half, on the Lozoh road, was a bit exciting -- bumps and gullies that would high-center a dump truck. The trip might have been easier on motorcycles. When we arrived, we sat in good shade for a few minutes, and as 11:00 approached, I wondered aloud if Church was to start soon. The pastor-in-charge informed us that service had been pushed back till noon, so that people could stay home and chase the birds out of their gardens (away from the sorghum). Evidently, these particular birds take a rather strictly enforced siesta from noon until about three o'clock. So we spent the extra hour meeting the children of Lozoh and looking at the beautiful church. It is probably the prettiest church building in Lui diocese. Concrete block construction, metal framework (the termites can't eat that), and all the doors and window shutters are solid mahogany. Absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to show Adventers the sparkling metal roof.

About noon, I vested and we processed into church. Five or ten minutes into the service, a young woman began to have a nodding seizure, so Deb went down from the chancel to sit with her, and then just stayed there for the rest of the service. She was able to get good pictures and video. I preached on Jeremiah 31:7-14 and Matthew 2:1-12 (the readings for second Sunday after Christmas -- they don't usually follow the lectionary here). I talked about the wise men from the east coming from Babylon, Israel's sworn enemy after the Exile. I spoke about the reconciliation of old enemies in the worship of the child, and in the offering of our very selves to each other. I had noticed in the bottom of the pulpit and offering basket just like the ones we use at Advent (rather more worn, however), and held it up to say that we used two just like this for our offering at home. The church erupted into applause and 'allelyas.' I said it reminded us week by week of our relationship with Lozoh, as we said our prayers.

After service, we had the entire congregation come forward to the chancel in order to take their picture (just as we had done at Advent before we left). We'll have great photos and stories to share when we get home. Like the wise men, we will come home another way -- completely changed.

I won't post again, as we leave tomorrow by MAF, and I probably won't bother in Kampala. If all goes well (and I can't imagine it won't), we'll touch down in Saint Louis on Thursday. See you after that.


Lisa Fox said...

Sounds like a perfect sermon, Dan. I'm glad you all were able to spend that time at Lozoh.

BTW, here are a couple of references for those reading who haven't heard of nodding disease.

Deb wrote about the disease during her time in Lui in 2005-06. That story is here.

Mike Kinman also wrote about the disease during his 2005 trip. His story is here.

judyhodge said...

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for all your insights as well; they are very helpful!