Rwanda

Love is a Weapon that Destroys All Evil

November 07, 2011
By Catherine Larson

If you happened to be on CNN's homepage today, you got a glimps of a photo essay by the very talented celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart, who traveled to Rwanda this summer with filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson to photograph some of the faces of forgiveness and reconciliation. Among these faces, you will see John and Chantal, whose stories are told in both the film and in my book. I also spotted a few backdrops I recognized as well as a few other people who I interviewed for the book, but whose stories did not get included. You can check out the moving photo essay here and Jeremy's own thoughts on the radical power of forgiveness in this article also posted on CNN today.

God's Tattoo Parlor

November 19, 2009
By Catherine Larson

When I first began researching for As We Forgive, I was simultaneously drawn to and repulsed by some photographs of Rwandan survivors whose bodies were marked by jagged machete scars.

As I wrote in the book, the scars came to symbolize for me both our incredible capacity for evil, and God’s amazing ability to heal unthinkably deep wounds. Scars came to represent to me a seam in the fabric of time. On the one hand, a scar will always symbolize the past—the wrongs, or wounds, or sufferings done to us. But on the other hand, they represent God’s ongoing miraculous healing in our present. The fact that they are no longer gaping wounds, but fused back into a new kind of wholeness is itself astonishing.

It forced me also to think about the scars of Jesus. Unlike the survivors I met in Rwanda, Jesus did not miraculously survive the wounds inflicted upon Him at the crucifixion. We know from God’s Word, and from the familiar words of our creed, that He died, was buried, and was resurrected. After the resurrection, He appeared to His disciples. And when Thomas famously doubted whether or not he was really seeing his Savior, Jesus told him to put his fingers into His scars.

For some reason, God, who had the power to heal every wound, to create things totally anew, left Jesus with the scars of His crucifixion in His resurrection body. This is a great mystery. I wonder if we will touch and see these scars when Christ comes again for us. If we ever get to hold the hand of Christ, I know these scars will speak to our souls of the depths and the riches of God’s gracious love toward us. (To continue reading, click here).

Rwanda 15 Years Ago Today

April 06, 2009
By Catherine Larson

On this day, 15 years ago, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane plummeted from the sky after being hit by a missile. It became the albatross around the neck of the Tutsi people when Hutu claimed that the RPF shot it down. The most widely accepted theory today is that radical Hutu unsatisfied with the direction of the peace talks, assasinated the Rwandan and Burundian presidents. Either way, the sudden streak of a missile and the fiery light of a falling plane were a diabolical kind of fireworks that night--evil's unseemly opening ceremonies to a hundred days of slaughter that would consume the country.

Within hours of the plane's metal shrapnel gashing Rwandan soil, Hutu sharpened their machetes to do likewise. Radios hissed a message that "the season for slaughter" had arrived. In the days to follow, Hutu killed the Tutsi and their sympathizers at a rate five times higher than the mechanized Nazi gas chambers.