Life Amid Death
by Akiiki D. Kabagarama
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!..." Luke 24:1-6a
I began year 2006 in Uganda , my birth place. It was my first time to return after living in the U.S. for twenty-one consecutive years. Yes, twenty-one years! I had left during the unrest following Idi Amin's rule. After rescuing my two children at that time, I bought a one-way ticket to the U.S. Thoughts of ever returning to Uganda were very distant.
Then, as if the country had not experienced enough problems, the AIDS crisis hit Uganda quite hard during the 1980s. For more than twenty years, I have received news about death constantly. While some are images revealed by television and other media, many of the dead were very close to me and my family. Most of the victims, especially those who died in the 1980s were caught unaware by the deadly illness.
With all of this knowledge in my head, I did not know what to expect when I got to Uganda . For sure, I knew many people had died. But were any people left, besides close relatives, who could recognize me? I wondered. What about the many orphans whose parents I had known and those I had read about in publications? How were they surviving and where was God in all this?
When I touched the soil of my birthplace, immediately I experienced life, not death. Fruits of all kinds were still being sold along the roadside between Entebbe airport and Kampala city. The waters of River Nile and Lake Victoria were refreshing. God was everywhere I went.
When I visited the rural area, the region where I was born, I also saw life, not death. I did visit the graves of people who had died as vibrant youth. There were many orphans who were raising themselves as well. I was excited to see that many of my extended family was still alive as I visited women who were taking care of the young, the elderly and the sick.
Upon seeing signs of hope and life, I remembered what the angels told the women who had gone to Jesus' tomb. The angels said, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen" (Luke: 24:5).
Through Jesus' death and resurrection, we have life. What had appeared to be a final act, where death had conquered, was really just a new beginning. Life came to humanity through the death of Jesus. Let us take this dear lesson to heart. In Jesus, we find life amid death.
Thank you loving God for sending us Jesus. His death brought life. For this reason, we rejoice and have hope. Amen.