A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Sakumɔ We. Second day of Homowo (homo hunger, wo hoot ) harvest festival celebrated by the Ga people from the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, starting 31 May to celebrate the planting of maize and yams before the start of the rainy season. During the festival, the Kpanlogo dance is performed with the backing of an ensemble of drummers, often with 6 drums of varied sizes including djembe and dunun, and gankogui bells. Homowo is celebrated in memory of a famine in precolonial Ghana caused by a failure of the seasonal rains needed by the crops. When the rains finally came, the Ga celebrated by launching the Homowo festival in all the towns in the Ga state with celebrations climaxing in Ga-Mashie (Accra), the home of the original Ga settlers. After the celebration, the religious authorities prohibit further drumming and hooting to avoid disturbing the gods of the land and the people normally return to worshipping in the churches and mosques. On 10 June, the drumming ban will be lifted (Odadao). The Yam festival to the God Blafo will then begin on 29 June. The Ga people of the southeast coast of Ghana speak a dialect of the Kwa branch of Niger-Congo languages and are descended from immigrants who came down the Niger River and across the Volta during the 17th Century. Image: en.wikipedia.org.
Prayer On this second day of Homowo, we offer thanks to God that we have survived another year. As we eat our celebratory Kpoikpoi, we will sprinkle some so that the other living organisms that we cannot see with our eyes will also be fed and thus be renewed for another year. Amen
Justin, martyr at Rome (Defender of the true philosophy) (c107-165). Lutheran Commemoration of the pagan Samarian Holy Martyr Justin the Philosopher. He studied the various schools of Greek philosophy: the Stoics; the Peripatetics; the Pythagoreans; and the Platonists, and he concluded that none of these pagan teachings revealed the way to knowledge of the true God. An old man revealed to Justin the essential nature of Christian teaching and advised him to seek the answers to all the questions of life in the books of Holy Scripture. “But before anything else,” said the holy Elder, “pray diligently to God, so that He might open to you the doors of Light. No one is able to comprehend Truth, unless he is granted understanding from God Himself, Who reveals it to each one who seeks Him in prayer and in love.” At 29, Justin accepted holy Baptism and devoted his talents and vast philosophical knowledge to preaching the Gospel among the pagans throughout the Roman Empire, writing: “Whosoever is able to proclaim Truth and does not proclaim it will be condemned by God.” Justin opened a school of Christian philosophy and, in 155 when the Emperor started a persecution against Christians, Justin defended Christians innocently condemned to execution and the persecution ended. Justin returned to Italy but in Rome many false accusations were brought against him and he was put under guard, subjected to torture and suffered martyrdom, his relics resting in Rome. Upon his arrest, Justin had been asked to denounce his faith by making a sacrifice to the Roman gods but he replied: “No one who is rightly minded turns from true belief to false.” Image: catholicnewsworld.com.
Brigham Young (American Moses, Prophet) (1801-77). Anniversary of birth of American religious leader, the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and founder of Salt Lake City. At 23, he converted to the Reformed Methodist Church and insisted on being baptised by total immersion. He was unconvinced that he had found a church with the true authority of Jesus Christ and in 1830 was introduced to the new Book of Mormon, joining the Church of Christ in 1832 and setting out on a mission to Ontario, Upper Canada. Young was ordained a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835 and became the Quorum president in 1839, sending a mission to the UK. In 1844, while in jail awaiting trial on treason charges, the Church’s president Joseph Smith was killed by an armed mob and Young was ordained president of the Church from 1847 until his death, relocating his group of Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, then part of Mexico. Young supported slavery, saying: “In as much as we believe in the Bible … we must believe in slavery,” and that slavery was a divine institution and not to be abolished. Though polygamy was practised by Young’s predecessor Joseph Smith, the practice is often associated with Young and he married a total of 55 wives, 54 of them after he converted to Mormonism, and had 56 children by 16 of his wives. Young is generally considered to have instituted a church ban on conferring the priesthood on men of black African descent that had been treated equally in this respect under Smith’s presidency. Young died in Salt Lake City after contracting cholera and his is last words were: “Joseph! Joseph! Joseph!”, invoking the name of the founder of the Mormon faith. Young’s funeral was held in the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle with over 12,000 people in attendance. He is buried in the grounds of the Mormon Pioneer Memorial Monument in the heart of Salt Lake City. At the time of his death, Young had an estimated personal fortune of $15 million at present value. A bronze marker was placed at the grave site in 1938 by members of the Young Men and Young Women organisations that he founded. Image: facebook.com.