As part of our work to publicize the Nsenga Bible Translation Project, we are trying to visit as many churches and meet as many community leaders as we can. On Sunday, March 25, the family visited St Oscar’s Catholic Church here in Petauke for their 7am English service.
St Oscar’s is a very large church, and it is in the diocese of Bishop Lungu in Chipata (see the article in our Spring newsletter). The Vice-Chairman of the Translation committee is also a member there. It was nice to be able to meet with fellow Christians and tell them about the work that is being undertaken to bring the Bible into the Nsenga language.
The sermon was on the words of Jesus “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24-25). The priest talked about being willing to “die” to things that keep us from God, and the great blessing that is ours because Jesus came to die for us – his death, like that kernel of wheat, bringing life to many.
As we walk the road to Calvary this Lenten season, may we all be blessed to ponder this saying of Jesus. Let us give thanks that Jesus was willing to die – “even death on a cross”(Philippians 2:8) – so that we might have life through him.
This mural in front of St Oscar’s depicts the Church as a tree. In the trunk are those believers still on earth, gathered together to hear the Word. Up in the branches are those believers who are already enjoying heaven – depicted here as a feast around a huge bowl of tasty Zambian nshima. Outside the tree to either side are those who are not yet part of the church. (Notice especially the man carrying a weapon, the witchdoctor, the sorcerer, and the drunk man on the right-hand side of the mural.) In the center of it all, of course, is Jesus, spreading out his arms to draw everyone to himself.
A nice mural of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan – or else our baptisms, as God the Father himself adopts us into his family to be brothers and sisters of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit descends on us to bring faith.