"So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead."
James 2:17

Shattered Land in Bosnia-Herzegovina


by Ernest Sonny Bayer

Roofs across Bosnia lay shattered on the ground around their concrete skeletons like widows weeping at their husband's tombs. One had been reborn, revealing from its ridge the scars of unroofed trenches where soldiers died and lived for four years to defend their Boderiste.

Beyond the trenches deadly mines lay camouflaged beneath fields of wildflowers, testifying to the roots of war and the fragility of peace.

This region, alone, awaits a verdict of borders from politicians of Dayton who avoid it like a mine field, while villagers wait, work and pray it won't be stepped-on.

The deadliest of mines resides within.

Rat-a-tat-tat sound the guns of a nearby U.N. exercise. Rat-a-tat-tat sound the hammers of humanitarian roofers. Muslims, Croats and North Americans pound their swords into shingles to protect a Catholic church, while Serbs drive truckloads of supplies to Croatian homes they had destroyed.

U.N. helicopters spread their shield above while we build bonds of fellowship below: working; laughing; playing; dining; crying; singing; and praying, we learn the language of each other's heart.

A cautious optimism arises from the fields of Boderiste as together we are rebuilding her from the roots.

But how many more villages are precariously perched between the fields of hope and destitution?

How long, O Lord, until your healing river drowns violence from our hearts?

How long until we realize the suffering, the joy, the God of Boderiste is our own?

There is a great roof above us under which we all abide, transforming one another, our fates all intertwined.

Repairing it takes unity and forgiveness of sin. The peaceful kingdom must begin courageously within.


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