Crying Out in the Wilderness of Northern Uganda
In the shadow of the broken world, it is difficult to feel like you can do something about it in some real, powerful way. I feel so young, so small, without enough resources or abilities to fix everything that I see — disease, genocide, rape, climate change, war, starvation, poverty. And then in days like today, I am reminded it is because no one person is supposed to be able to fix it all. Healing the world was never meant to be a solo activity, something that you do on your own, quietly. It has always had its roots in community, in coming together when one voice becomes two, then ten, then a hundred and a thousand.
It’s easy enough for something like the war in northern Uganda to seem so far removed. We don’t see nine year old boys being abducted in the dead of night, to be forced to carry guns and burn villages. We don’t live in constant fear that the LRA will come knocking at our door, demanding our children to be sacrificed for this lust for power that runs so deep that it’s a poison we can’t imagine.
But we have to know. When we choose to live comfortably in our apathy and ignorance, we become a part of the problem. Our inaction does not excuse us and place us comfortably outside what goes on elsewhere; it instead wraps us up in the dead center as a cause for problems to continue. When we ignore injustice, we are just as guilty as the persons committing the crimes.
Invisible Children is an organization I’ve supported for awhile whose aim is to rescue child soldiers and help bring an end to the longest running war in Africa. What is still shocking to me is that the guys who are started this aren’t much older than I am; kids in their 20s who wanted to be a voice for something that no one else was talking about and did it. We cannot live quietly in a bubble anymore; we must let things shock and upset us, make us sick and run us through and choke out feeling until we feel like we can’t take it anymore. We have got to see things like this in order to push and prod us until we are disturbed enough to do something about it.
Abduct yourselves this April 25, 2009.
In the past 23 years, thousands of children have been taken from their homes in the dead of night and forced to fight as soldiers in an army led by Joseph Kony, a man who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. While we may not all be able to be there physically to sit in on peace talks or hold the hands of mothers who don’t know if their children are alive or dead, we must stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, whoever we are, wherever we are. When even just one person on the face of this earth is dehumanized and robbed of their dignity and freedom, it becomes our problem.
Be one more voice in the crowd to cry out until injustice cannot stand any longer. Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew that the church will be “so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.” (Matthew 16:18, The Message). It is our responsibility to fight this hell on earth with that “expansive energy” because we are promised a victory. It may not be quick, easy, or on our timetable, but we are always, ALWAYS promised hope. Without it, I think things like this are more than I could bear.
I need hope in the way that a man crawling through the desert thirsts for water and can think of nothing else. I cling to it in a way that violently tears me apart because I’d rather be in agony for hope than numb in cynicism and indifference.
Cry out alongside me, brothers and sisters.
The world is starting to hear us.