Shining A Light on the Dark Continent

Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Rabbi is a Novelty in Kenya

The men who gathered for the Hour of Prayer
The men who gathered for the Hour of Prayer

“So there we were — a Rabbi, an Imam, an Anglican Priest and a Presbyterian minister — all teaching and sharing together” at the Hour of Prayer on March 2, 2011 in Manda Bay, Kenya. It was quite a sight and quite historical since no one besides Dave ever saw a Rabbi in person before. And he raised quite a to-do.

“It was almost comical how people reacted to the Rabbi,” Dave said. “He was such an anomaly. The Kenyans wanted to touch him to make sure he was real. As one person said,’I’ve only read about Rabbis in the Bible, I’ve never seen a real Rabbi before.’ ”

About 61 men attended the Hour of Prayer at which the Rabbi, an U.S. Navy Chaplain, read verses out of Deuteronomy(6:5) and Leviticus(19:18) about loving God with your whole self and loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Dave followed up with a reading out of Matthew(22:34-40) where Jesus responds to a question about the greatest commandment by quoting the Deuteronomy and Leviticus verses. The Kenyan Military hosted the event.

Father Boniface Kilonzo, the Kenyan Military Anglican chaplain spoke about how anger can blind us to the truth and take us down the road of hate versus love which binds , forgives and builds relationships. Imam Abdul explained how a wave of a hand can be a friendly, welcoming gesture or an angry, go-away gesture. The intent, according to Dave, is that the hand should be used build up and care for another person and not destroy them.

The Hour of Prayer helped illustrate to those present the strength and common bonds that pull military chaplains together, regardless of faith tradition or nationality, and to be physical reminders of the Holy and to care for all people.

“For me, what a privilege! If anyone ever told me I would be part of an interfaith event on a Kenyan Military base in a remote part of the country, I wouldn’t believe them, but, there I was,” Dave said.