Kwibuka is "remember" in Kinyarwanda. April is the month of remembrance. April 6 marks the beginning of the Genocide 20 years ago. The month will be devoted to commemoration of the events, with memorial service at various locations around the country. This is a difficult time dealing with the past but it is part of the way forward for the future.
A colleague from Germany who taught with me in February and March understands the pain of remembering from a different perspective, from that of the child of German citizens who struggled with the memory and the guilt of the Jewish Holocaust of World War II. My colleague, Rev. Sylvia Bukowski, wrote a prayer after she returned to Germany, for her church to use during April, to be in prayer for Rwanda. With her permission, I share it with you and invite you to make it your prayer for Rwanda during this month.
Prayer for Rwanda
Lord of the Universe,
You promise to be near all who suffer
And to protect the defenseless and the weak.
But where were you,
When the great killing started in Rwanda?
Why did you hide your countenance,
Why did you keep silent to the cries of the victims,
Who remained without protection
Even in Churches?
Now 20 years later
We pray for the survivors of the genocide:
Until today they are wounded by the horror,
In which they have lost everything dear to them:
Beloved family and friends,
A safe home,
Their former trust in each other.
Give them comfort
When the wounds tear open in commemoration,
And place people at their side,
Who are willing to share their pain.
God, Judge of all nations,
We commend to you the killers and their accomplices,
Many of them still without remorse,
Still ensnared in lies and foul excuses:
Lead them into honest acknowledgement of their guilt,
And from true repentance let new beginnings spring
In the whole nation.
God, of Grace and Mercy,
we also pray for ourselves:
Yes we were shocked,
When we witnessed what happened in Rwanda.
But soon we forgot,
Because so many other things occupied our mind.
And so very often
We feel totally helpless
In the face of the suffering,
Which still goes on all over the world.
Show us effective ways to prove our solidarity,
And keep our hearts from growing cold and from resignation.
Bless the peacemakers and those engaged in reconciliation.
Hold your gracious hand over Rwanda
And heal the wounds of all the nations
In our torn world.
God turn to us with the transforming power of your love.