The Chibok Girls on This Maundy Thursday

Eight years ago today, I was on my way to work when a news item broke on the radio that caught me completely off-guard. It was coming out of Nigeria. The terrorist group, Boko Haram, raided a school in Chibok, kidnapping more than 200 female, teenage students. They packed these young teenagers like canned sardine in the backs of their trucks and disappeared.
It was hard to take in some of the details of that atrocity. I pulled over by the side of the road and cried. And I struggled to put words into a prayer. In the weeks and months to follow, Christians all over the world would join Nigerians in prayer for the return of our schoolgirls. Social media went viral under the campaign, #bringbackourgirls. Several other nations even offered to help, in one way or other, in the search. It was as if our world was shaken.
That morning, I continued my drive into work. As I arrived the parking lot, with so much flooding through my mind, I pulled out my pen and paper and wrote a poem. You can find the poem below.
In the last eight years as several of them eventually escaped or were released, we have come to learn about some of the things they suffered in the hands of their captors. The Muslim schoolgirls mostly became married off to the Muslim kidnappers. For the Christians girls, most of them refused to convert to Islam and were subjected to the most brutal, inhuman conditions. They kept their faith. They recited the Psalms, recalled and prayed passages out of Job, and so forth. Many of them who returned are still undergoing healing from the trauma.
Today, we come to Maundy Thursday – the night in which our Savior was betrayed into the hands of those who plotted His death. We, like the Chibok girls, were helpless in the net of our enemy and captor, the Evil One. We were all confined to his death trucks.
On this night, Jesus chased after us. He will give up His throne on high to become as one of us, and through His own death to redeem us and bring us back to the Father.
Tonight, before His death, He instituted the Lord’s Table. As we come to that Table, we come broken. Broken in many ways. But it’s alright. His Body was broken for us. He continues to redeem, restore, and heal. He did not leave us alone as helpless captives. He chased after us and brought us back. Tonight.
Fetch Me More Tears
Fetch me more tears,
For my eyes did not bring enough
It must be two days later.
My heavy eyelids finally drooped.
How could I recount the dream?
Fright. Fights. Flight. Fear.
Why should my mind awake?
I would rather dream of these,
Than awake to them.
It must be two days before.
In our school clothes we went.
Now clothed in bruises we leave.
We sang with our bags of books,
Now pushed along with guns to our backs.
We hoped to choose learning,
But now despair under cruel lessons.
It must be two days in-between,
As fish in a net, they took us.
Yet we listened for flickering lights of hope,
Like straw for our feeble hands to grasp.
We ached to hear footfalls chasing for us.
We looked back for those sounds of love,
But the silence was loud that followed behind,
Only deafening our eager ears.
Our voices choked.
Our noses ran.
Our eyes wept.
Our bodies shook.
Our minds dulled.
Fetch me more tears,
For my eyes did not bring enough.   Donald Nwankwo
A Poem, dedicated to the kidnapped Chibok Girls in northern Nigeria.
April 2014.

Donald Nwankwo
Rector, The Light of Christ Church