So why would Grumpy Pastor love such a musical? Isn’t Grumpy all about Jesus and stuff? Doesn’t GP take issue with a musical which has fake Ugandans tossing around the granddaddy of all swear words towards the creator of the universe? Well, if you are a follower of Jesus, you eventually come to a point where you can shed all the junk of the world and let all that stuff go. That’s kind of the reason Jesus was up on the cross wasn’t it? After all that stuff is let go, just like Grumpy, you can sit and listen, and really take in the message that’s in the musical. And you know what? That message just might be one that jives with Jesus. Just take a look at the lyrics from the song with the notorious fudge curse…
“If you don’t like what we say, try living here a couple days. Watch all your friends and family die, hasa diga eebowai.”
Well, if you are really listening to the words, it kind of puts a lump in your throat. Hello 1st world, I would like you to meet 3rd world problems! Aids, warlords, poverty, and famine! Jesus was pretty direct about how we are to interact with those having less than us. Furthermore, actually having been to developing parts of the world, I find the insult hurled towards the Father ironically holy. Most of the folks I’ve met in poorer places don’t take on an attitude of “hasa diga eebowai.” Nope. The only time Grumpy has seen that kind of attitude is in rich white people.
At the end of the musical, because of the help of the missionaries, the locals take on a different tune. They sing something else. They sing “Ma'hanibu eebowai! Thank you God!” Yup. They’ve got some salvation from their hardships and now sing some praise towards the creator. This is drowned out if you remain offended from that earlier song with the unmentionable word heaped at big poppa.
Yup. “Thank you God!” What God does in the world is good news. This is gospel. And when we hear what God does, see what God does, and know what God does, we say thanks.
See, the reason Grumpy Pastor loves this musical is because it’s really not that different from a psalm. Psalm 22 has a much kinder way of saying “hasa diga eebowai.”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.”
Then, as the psalm goes on, David comes to a new understanding...
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!”
What is shown from this Psalm? What is shown from this musical? What’s shown is that questioning God with your sincerity, with your reality, with your raw emotion results in faith and thanksgiving. The reason Grumpy Pastor loves this musical is because it shows the process of the Gospel. Of finding some salvation, and then saying thanks.
“Ma'hanibu eebowai! Thank you God!”