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The Son of the Suffering One

R C Allison

One night George (Wiseman) and I were sitting round the campfire as we usually did with a group of Shinji in a previously unreached district, when the young men brought out their drums and started dancing. The dancers formed two lines facing each other, about three feet apart. Africans across the subcontinent love to sing in this antiphonal manner, chanting the same words over and over in turn. Singing is sometimes a way of communication, and a song can also serve as a warning. Knowing this, I listened to catch the words as the men danced before me. Suddenly George and I were startled at the same moment. What were these words that they were singing?

Mumwese lamba, ngwe amwesele lamba, Mwana wa Kalunga (Make him to suffer just as they made the son of the infinite one to suffer; make him to suffer just as they made the son of the infinite one to suffer...!). Where did such words come from, and what could they possibly mean? Plenty of noise as they continued to dance, but no explanation was forthcoming. The meaning had been lost in the mist of centuries, though it had been passed down faithfully from generation to generation.

In the early morning I called the old men of the village and enquired about Mwana Kalunga. "Oh", they replied, shaking there wise heads, "this song was handed down to us from our elder men who learned it from their ancients, but we don't know who this Mwana Kalunga was" they said. "Do you?"

"Yes, Fathers, we know", I replied. "His name is Yesu and He was made to suffer for our sins". So, starting from this jungle song I revealed to them from the Scriptures the message of the Infinite One, who was Jesus, the One who suffered on the cross for their sins. The meaning of it all swept over these young men that night and many turned to this Son of the Infinite One who suffered on the cross for their sakes.

A few years later, in terrible situations of conflict, some of these very young men would in turn lay down their lives for the sake of the name of this Son of the Infinite One whom they had come to know and to serve.



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