Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
Good Friday Prayer at the Sudanese Mission
Good Friday, April 6, 2007, we conducted a prayer vigil at the United Nations and the Sudanese Mission. The vigil was sponsored by “The National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned about Dar-Fur,” to highlight the suffering of the people of Dar-Fur, Sudan. The U.N. has called it the “worse humanitarian crisis in the World today.” Former secretary of state, Colin Powell has called it genocide. It has been reported that 400,000 people have been killed and 2,500,000 have been displaced.
The Sudanese government has been accused of being responsible for the crisis. I was told by women in the refugee camp, “first the bombs came, next the armored vehicles afterward the horse and camel riders burning looting, raping, killing, kidnapping, destroying land occupying our villages. There are allegations that the Sudanese government is engaged in Arab expansion and Arabization, i.e., the imposition of Arab culture.
On April 3, I returned from a sixteen-day trip to Chad. I met with governmental, civil and rebel leaders. I met with the Dar-Furians in the refugee camps. I saw and heard, first hand, the pain and despair. Returning on the plane, I resolved there was no better way to observe Good Friday then to be at the U.N. and Sudanese Mission identifying with the people of Dar-Fur and demanding an end to their plight.
Good Friday, we are taught, Jesus Christ was crucified. His life was committed to sacrifice and service. He voluntarily submitted himself to crucifixion to expose the depth of evil and to save and empower those who commit their lives to him.
Contrary to the popular religious teachings which associates God’s blessings with prosperity, comfort and ease, Jesus’ life and teachings were examples of sacrifice and self-giving. Every generation is challenged to go and do likewise. Jesus taught, he that seeks to save his life shall lose it, that is to say, he that lives for himself shall lose himself, but he that loses his life for Jesus’ sake, for doing good, on behalf of others, shall find his life.
Even as we viewed the resurrection, which followed a couple of days later, our greatest joy is concentrated on our resurrection. We will live forever. It is not, as Jesus emphasized the empowerment for service. On the day of His ascension Jesus said, “You shall receive power and be my witness all over the world.” This was actualized ten days later on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples. They became courageous proclaimers of good news and fearless challengers of evil. How is it that we are able to overlook the suffering of others? Is it not because we are in pursuit of our own enrichment? We say that we are blessed because we have accumulated some material stuff. Seldom if ever do we hear, we are blessed, God has entered our lives and we are inspired to sacrifice and to serve.
We had originally planed an act of civil disobedience at the conclusion of the prayer vigil. After receiving a letter from the office of the Sudanese Ambassador offering to meet with us, (after prior rejecting our request for a meeting) we decided that we would postpone the civil disobedience until after the meeting but we would go ahead with the vigil.
While others would be celebrating Good Friday in comfortable, affluent surroundings enjoying beautiful music and eloquent speeches we thought an act of inconvenience, humiliation and service on behalf of the Dar-Furian people would best represent the life and teachings of Jesus.
Among those who participated were Yah Ya Osmond, Reverend Podres Spencer, Oronde Takumya, Peggy Washington, and Connie Stewart.
See Lem Peterkin’s photos
Save the date Dar-Fur Benefit
May 5, 2007 - 7-10 p.m.
At Medgar Evers College
Organizing Meeting on Dar-Fur
Each Thursday, noon – 2:00 p.m.
At The House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY