Things are not going well for the nation of Burundi and Tear Fund UK has send message to its partners to pray for the peace of Burundi. The President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurinzinza a born again Christian believes he is in power by divine choice. When he took office in August he warned the rebels they would be crushed by God. “They will be scattered like flour thrown in the air – as the God of heaven is a witness, the Burundians will be at peace”. Yet four months after his inauguration there is no sign of peace in sight and Burundi is at a point where a civil war can erupt. This fear of civil war has led the United Nations to call for an investigation of abuses as part of an effort to curb the violence and prevent a wider regional conflict.
The ongoing outbreak of political violence in Burundi is a good lesson for African citizens to understand that there are political leaders who will try to follow the religious beliefs of the voting majority, while their actions seldom display what they preach. This was sadly the case with Adolf Hitler of Germany who often proclaimed how important Christianity was to his life, and how much he was personally inspired by Jesus – his Lord and Savior. Yet from his life we know he had no clue what Christianity was really about. He just acted the part to fool the Christians and by time the people came to realize it was too late to rectify the untold damage caused. The same principle applies to the religion of Islam, or any other religion for that matter. If leaders don’t practice what their religions preach, they birth violence. That is why as Christians we must pray for the peace of Gambia which has just been declared the Islamic Republic of Gambia. For if the president does not act on what he believes we will soon see the persecution of the minority including Christians in the Gambia.
As we pray for the peace of Burundi, I invite us to reflect from Luke Chapter 2 on the two characters that form part of the Christmas drama-Simeon and Anna. In Luke 2:25-26 we are told that Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel. Things weren’t going real well for the nation of Israel. They hadn’t heard from God for many years and were under Roman rule. They had lost their political independence and were living in fear of the sly, devious, and cruel King Herod, and many were wondering if the Messiah would ever come. Simeon’s expectation focused on the comfort that Christ would bring. Among Jews of Simeon’s day one of the popular titles of Messiah was Comforter. Like the Christmas song we just sang (Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come), they were longing for the Messiah to come and bring His comfort to them.
As for Anna, she was looking for forgiveness. In Luke 2:38 we read: “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” The word redemption is related to the idea of captivity and release of Jews from Egypt. When Anna saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke of Him to all who were waiting for redemption. Ultimately, here was the One who would save His people from their sins. Beloved, when Jesus came, He provided the very things that Simeon and Anna were waiting for — God’s comfort and His forgiveness. What the people of Burundi are waiting for this Christmas is not President Pierre peace. What they are waiting for is the peace that the Prince of Peace gives. Let us pray that God rise up leaders in Burundi who understand the peace that Jesus gives. Let us believe that God would give Burundi peace–“Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). Let us pray for repentance and forgiveness.
Excerpt from Sunday Message at Renewal