Reflection at Bible on the Ground in Nanyuki on 16th February, 2019
Nanyuki bible on the ground center is a retreat center located in Nanyuki. Its theology is to simplify the scripture and make it readily understandable in the traditional African set up. To create an impact with the same gospel expressed in a more African context. The center is located inside a Benedictine monastery. Its is a blend of nature, the landscape covered by indigenous trees, valley like ground surfaces, small mounds to represent mountains and runs from Genesis to revelations. Notably, it is also covered with traditional African huts with various subjects to talk about ranging from family to society. Given its position near the modern military airstrip, it beautifully blends technology and tradition.
The group of 58 students left Nairobi at exactly 6.00am with the view of arriving at the bible on the ground center at Nanyuki by 10.00am. All filled with expectation of the so famous Retreat center located a few meters from Mt Kenya lodge off Nanyuki-Nairobi road. A morning prayer consisting of a rosary, a divine mercy and litanies. There was a brief stopover at Chaka just after Karatina for refreshment. Embarking on the journey we had a brief reflection on suffering as a Christian and especially a catholic, this was facilitated by the retreat committee.
On arrival, the group of 58, was facilitated by fr. James O.S.B, a Benedictine priest serving at the station. He gave a brief history of the station from its inception 77 years ago. The piece of land on which the land lies, was donated by an American family to the Benedictine congregation with the idea of developing it into a 2, 3 or 4 day religious, personal or couple retreat center. Since then a church has sprung and a community been welling with activity. A primary school has come up and the sisters have since moved to Nairobi to establish a medical Centre. These efforts were actualized by fr. Raymond O.S.B in the late eighties. The latter, who had been inspired by pope John Paul II’s visit to Kenya. Fr Raymond in turn got inspired to make the scriptures more deeply rooted in the local community. He considered the ground a holy place, thereby setting the terrain.
Fr James O.S.B took us round the scripted terrain addressing contemporary issues in the society from the biblical point of view. The subjects addressed ranged from:
Modern day atheism brought about by education.
- Roles of the bible in Christian life especially catholic; fr. James kept appealing to the group of catholic students, whom he continuously recognized as scholars and future leaders of the country to read through every other book as the principle of knowledge demand but to live permanently in the bible.
- Modern day atheism brought about by education; education in Kenya is the beautiful fruit of the earlier missionaries who came to evangelize the traditional African society, but in view of challenges as language opted that in order to bring Christ to these people, they had to also fulfill their basic needs. To this, he motioned us to live proverbs, ‘’The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom.
- Compassion as part of Christian virtues; especially in being our brother’s keepers, seeing Christ in each and every needy member of the society as the street family, needy members of the society and the physically challenged.
- State of the country; models of high-profile individuals misleading youths through perverse living, self-centered lifestyle and murderous greed.
- Nepotism and diversity; it is a common tradition in the civilized society to refer to individuals with their sir names. Unfortunately, this very act of the civilized world is the born of contention in Kenya. We must rise above the mention of our names, the mere placement of the region to which we belong. We must triumph above our tribal relations!
- Family; many of us are Catholics because our parents introduced us into the faith, natured us through and lead us through the most instrumental basic of it, the catechism, the very foundation. Fr James insisted that we must not deny our children such privilege. ‘’ let’s all heed Christ’s call and introduce young children to him,’’ fr Explained with a view of nurturing the young vocations.
- Responsibility: being youth means curiosity but we need to insist on moderation. Responsibility was discussed from every point of view, friends we associate with, actions done, choices made, pieces of advises ignored to very elemental ones concerning our faith and future.
Youth for Christ: we live in Christ and strive to achieve holiness just where we are, where we work, in those we associate with, in the university…
In the evening a thanksgiving mass was celebrated by fr Joseph O.S.B for the university students, the catholic women and men association member and other groups present. Squad, a student self help group, animated the mass.
It was a beautiful day, one full of knowledge, learning and exhortation. One full of scriptures explained in nature making it more attractive. To be more precise, it was seeing and experiencing Christ out there!