Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Cross in the Sand

David Lower was part of a group from Shenago Presbytery which visited Sudan in January 2002.

Keywords: christians, Sudan, church, cross, brotherhood, unity

In a desert village on the outskirts of a city in Sudan, I had just come out of a worship service. People were greeting one another. A slightly built old man, dressed in traditional white Arabic clothing walked up to me. His thin face with short black whiskers was almost hidden by his turban. His eyes were black and he had a look of hurt and sadness that comes only with a hard life. In spite of the fact that he spoke to me in Arabic I felt that I wanted there to be a bond and knew that somehow I had to communicate with him.

He carried a short rod about sixteen inches long that men use when they are riding their donkeys. Reminded of a story I once heard about how early Christians recognized each other, I took the stick from him and drew a fish in the sand at our feet. As I pointed to my drawing and looked into his eyes I saw only confusion. He shook his head--the fish meant nothing to him.

I drew a cross in the sand. Instantly a smile lit his face and his eyes came alive. He began to nod his head, took my hand and chanted with excitement, "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ!" I repeated the same words with a feeling of joy that there truly was a bond between us. Can there be a better way for two strangers to come together than through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? No amount of conversation could have conveyed the feelings and message that my little sand drawing had done."

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