I thought I’d post a few times today and tomorrow about the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and what it means to me and to some of the authors and fictional and actual characters that I have on my bookshelves. I’m going to take turns blogging and house-cleaning and see how that goes.
Don Richardson and his wife Carol were missionaries to the Sawi people of Irian Jaya. In 1962 they went to live among the Sawi, a cannabalistic and pagan people, and to translate the Bible into the Sawi language.
However, there was a big problem. The Sawi idealized violence so much that when they heard the story of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and subsequent death, they admired Judas as the hero of the story, the man who was so clever that he could befriend Jesus and gain his trust and then betray him to his death.
Mr. Richardson was at a loss as to how to communicate to the Sawi people their need for a Savior and reshaping of their violent culture. Then, as Don and Carol were about to leave the Sawi in despair over their inability to communicate the truth of Christ’s sacrifice,something happened. The Sawi decided to make peace:
“Among the Sawi,every demonstration of friendship was suspect except one. If a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted! That, and that alone, was a proof of goodwill no shadow of cynicism could discredit!
And everyone who laid his hand on the given son was bound not to work violence against those who gave him, nor to employ the waness bind for their destruction.”
After witnessing for himself the peace child ceremony in which the Sawi gave their own sons to each other as a peace bond, Mr. Richardson was able to give the Sawi good news:
“Because Myao Kodon (God) wants men to find peace with Him and with each other, He decided to choose a once-for-all tarop child good enough, and strong enough to establish peace, not just for a while, but forever! The problem was, whom should he choose? For among all human children, there was no son good enough or strong enough to be an eternal tarop.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
God made peace, eternal peace, between us and Him, between human beings, between the Sawi and the other tribes that they viewed as strangers and prey. And in our so sophisticated culture in which we view each other as rivals and strangers and either victors or victims, we need the peace of Jesus Christ just as much as the Sawi need it.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. Ephesians 2:13-14
Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century by Don Richardson is a wonderful demonstration of the efficacy of the gospel of Jesus Christ in all cultures and for all people.