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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, and Martyr, 1977.

Born in northern Uganda in 1922, Janani Luwum coverted to Christianity in 1948 and was ordained in 1956. He was ordained as bishop in 1969, and became Archbishop of Uganda five years later. When Idi Amin came to power in 1971, Luwum was one of the leading critics.

Things came to a head in 1977 as Luwum presented a note to Amin protesting arbitrary killings. Not long after that, Luwum was arrested with two cabinet ministers and charged with treason. They were paraded before a large demonstration, loaded into a car, and bundled away. The government soon said they had been killed in a car accident, but when their bodies were presented to their families, they were riddled with bullets.

While Luwum could have enjoyed the power and prestige of an archiepiscopal living, he chose instead to stand for justice, at the cost of his own life. While Idi Amin is now reviled as a villian, Luwum is remembered in a statue on the west front of Westminster Abbey, a witness for the power of right over might.

Strengthen us that we may stand ready to profess with our lives the faith that we proclaim with our lips. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give you thanks for your faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his Savior's example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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