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On sin, sacrifice and friendship

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As my eyes follow the blood streaming into the drain, I realize how high the price is that has to be paid for sin. Evil can not last forever; sin leads to death. We celebrate the feast of the sacrifice with our Senegalese friends in a village far from Dakar. The sheep we bought yesterday, now lies lifeless on the ground. The coming days will be full of cultural experiences and life lessons.

20160911_130823_hdr We leave in the early hours Sunday morning. Still, we soon find ourselves in a traffic jam… It’s quite an exodus from Dakar of people who will celebrate the feast of the sacrifice with relatives in the village. The trip is finally over after seven hours on the road with only one toilet break and a “buy a sheep pause”… The children have done great, and the warm welcome makes us soon forget the long journey.

20160912_100804 Our host’s three wives have been waiti ng for us and the meal is almost ready. From our arrival on we are adopted into the family. We eat traditional Senegalese meals together but there is also the freedom for some typical Dutch breakfast customs (such as Brinta or cheese sandwich). The feast of the sacrifice is above all a celebration of relationships. A family celebration with siblings, aunts and uncles. A community celebration where almost the entire village is visited to wish each and every one a Happy New Year.

20160912_161403This New Year’s wish is quite a bit more profound and more meaningful than what we are used to in the Netherlands: “Forgive me.” “I forgive you, do you forgive me too?” “Yes, I forgive you too, may God forgive us all.” The feast of the sacrifice is a celeb ration of forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation between God and men, and reconciliation between people. But forgiveness is not easy. Anyone who knows conflict, realized this to his bones. And the sheep which lies lifeless at the gate is a silent confirmation. Sin destroys, sin leads to death. With my eyes fixed on the sheep my thoughts go to Jesus, my savior, of which John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).20160912_10522220160911_104104


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