Elizabeth Sherrill shares how she was reminded of those who have paid the price for following the Lord.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.... —Matthew 5:10 (kjv)
It was a typical noisy market scene in Kenya, except for the sudden silence surrounding the stall where Rebmann Wamba had stopped to bargain over a stalk of matoke bananas. It was the same at the poultry vendor, where he purchased a chicken (live), and at the tea seller, where he counted out the coppers for two tea bags.
My husband and I were interviewing Wamba about his transformation from violent Mau Mau chieftain to ordained Presbyterian pastor. Once hailed as a freedom fighter, he’d told us, he’d become a despised outsider. We saw this now ourselves as hostile eyes followed him on his errands.
The chicken and tea were luxuries in our honor. Wamba had invited us to Sunday dinner with his wife and eight children in their mud-and-wattle home in Ngecha, and afterward to the service at his church. Walls were all it had. No roof. No floor. But a congregation overflowing the wood-plank benches. A drummer beat out the rhythm of a joyous opening hymn. For two hours, Wamba preached in Kiswahili while we watched the rapt faces of this embattled minority.
With the closing hymn, a collection was taken. The congregation’s offerings, Wamba had told us, were the church’s only support. I looked into the basket, which held a few penny coppers, two eggs, and an ear of corn. How long, I wondered, till a roof rose over these walls? And how long had I taken for granted the roof over our lovely stone church at home? How long had I tranquilly called myself a Christian and never encountered the hostile gaze of a neighbor?
Remind me, Lord, of all those who have paid the price for following You.
Digging Deeper: Jn 15:18; 2 Tm 3:12
Written by Elizabeth Sherrill