|by Zoe Sandvig|
I, too, returned with Catherine from Rwanda. And, I, too, saw the blood-stained altar, the bullet-pierced ceiling, the crypt of skulls and femurs, and the stacks of family coffins. As I climbed the steps from the dark corridor containing the remains of thousands who had died in that church, I glanced up and saw a purple blossom on a leafy overhang. A second later, a little child passed by on the other side of the fence, his backpack jostling up and down. He smiled at me shyly and kept on his way.
We visited a second genocide site, this one where 5,000 lost their lives. Bones lined the shelves on the back wall of the church. Clothes draped down the sides of the sanctuary like ghosts hovering over the pews. At the very front of the church, behind a pile of shoes, I noticed a small mural of the life of Christ. One of the last frames showed the Stone rolled away.
Skulls, blossoms, blood, smiling children, death, resurrection--I was gripped by the raw juxtaposition of horror and grace.
Death has left an oozing gash across Rwanda's flesh, but Christ continues to stitch up the memory of the slaughter with gentle fragrances of his grace and promises of resurrection.
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
-- I Corinthians 15:55