One of the wonderful things about being a Transition to Year 12 school is the interaction between students of different ages. At this week's General Assembly Junior School performed three items from their Musical. They were delightful and it was enjoyed by the Secondary School students. Mr Morton reminded the older student that this was them just a few years ago.
Mrs Staples, who is leading students in daily rehearsal, led the devotions and told the true story on which the musical is loosely based. her devotion is included below. It will help parents gain a better insight into the the message of the Musical
What would you do to make peace with a friend you were fighting with?What would you do to make peace with an enemy?
Let me tell you a story. An amazing story – a true story.
Don Richardson looked at his wife Carol sitting in the back of the canoe with their baby son asleep in her arms. She raised her eyebrow at him. They could both hear the drums. Rounding the last bend they gasped in astonishment. 400 Sawli tribesmen were gathered on the riverbank, dressed in war-paint and brandishing weapons. Was the Richardson family being welcomed for dinner, or was the Richardson family to be the dinner?
The Sawli tribe, a cannibalistic tribe from Irian Jaya – an island country above the top of Australia, had heard about strange, white-skinned, sickly looking people called ‘Tu-ons’. Tu-ons were highly valued because they bought steel tools, nylon fishing line, fish hooks, razor blades, medicine and salt. The Sawli had vowed that if a Tu-on chose to live among them, then they would choose him to be their Tu-on and they would be his tribe. Don Richardson and his family, were missionaries from America also happened to be Tu-ons. They were welcomed with a party that lasted for three days.
But the Sawli tribe were a savage people and had had very different values to Don and his wife Carol. One thing they valued highly was treachery. They thought tricking their enemies with friendship and then killing them was one of the cleverest things they could do.
Having a Tu-on in the area meant that other tribes came and settled around the clearings on the edge of the river. Normally these tribes would be separated by dense jungle, but now they were living close together and fights were breaking out almost daily. People were being injured and killed.
Don spent a long time living in amongst the Sawli people and learning their language. When Don had could finally speak the language clearly he gathered the people together and told them the story of Jesus. But when he reached the part about Judas, betraying Jesus they laughed with joy. The Sawlis thought that Judas was special kind of Tu-on, a master of treachery. They wanted to know more about Judas and thought he was the sort of guy that they would be happy to promise their daughter to in marriage.
They thought Judas was the hero and that Jesus was the fool to be laughed at. Don was very sad.
It wasn’t long before outright warfare broke out between the tribes. The tribes were fighting right around Don’s home. Don sat and thought about things. He thought about how these people idolized treachery, he thought about how they honoured masters of treachery as their heroes. He thought about how his very presence had bought the tribes together and started the war. He thought that God had placed him in a culture that had no way to make peace with their enemies. He decided it was time to leave.
He told the Sawli people his decision. They were very unhappy. Don and his wife bought them so many good things. They were saving lives every day with medicine like penicillin and anti-malarial drugs. The people said, ‘If it means our violence is about to drive you away we have to do something about it.’ Knowing their war-like nature Don didn’t think that there was anything they could do.
But Don didn’t know that the tribes did in fact have a way of making peace – a way that only worked in amongst a culture of treachery. The one way to make peace was if a father from one of the warring villages was prepared to make a sacrifice so great that everyone in both villages would honour what he had done. This sacrifice was to give away his child as a ‘peace child’ to be raised by a family in the other village. As long as that child was remained alive then peace was secure. No one would be so evil as to invalidate so great a sacrifice.
The next morning, a father, one who was blessed with only one child after many years of marriage walked amongst the houses with his baby son in his arms to see if anyone of the other fathers who had several children would give away one of their children. None of them were willing. None of them were willing to pay the price of peace. So, the man, the man blessed with only one son said, ‘I will do it. I will give away my only son as a peace child.’ This had never happened in Sawli memory – that someone blessed with only one son would give that son as a peace child. The people were awestruck. This was the greatest sacrifice ever. They began to celebrate the peace child and they laid their hands on the child. Everyone who touched the child said, ‘I receive this child as a basis for peace.’ And peace was secured between the tribes.
Don said, ‘I was praying for a gift of wisdom. I had no inkling that God had prepared this.’ Don was then able to proclaim Jesus as ‘the peace child’ given by the greatest father, to establish the greatest peace – peace between God and people, and between people and other people; a peace that lasts forever.
What would you do to make peace with a friend?
What would you do to make peace with an enemy?
What did God do to make peace with you?
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