Once upon a time there was a country named Somalia. It was a beautiful country along the oceans of Africa. Elephants, lions, baboons, camels, sheep, goat – a wonderful assortment of animals roaming the countryside. A country where peace flourished and various religions were tolerated: Christians and Muslims walked, worshipped, and worked side by side. Each person was equal to another. This was Somalia of the past.

Somalia used to be a place where hospitality and peace were respected; where a stranger was admitted into your home for 3 days without requiring to pay for anything. A wonderful place of peace, joy and tranquility.

Then their strong leader Siad Barre was overthrown: his government destroyed. Chaos and darkness entered the land. The ghosts and devils of violence and power started to dominated the countryside: every kind of evil reared its ugly head on the horizon.

And now instead of joyous laughter in the streets there is the sound of guns and machine guns; grenade and rocket propelled launchers fire their darts of death in every direction. People are killed for money or for no reason at all. Loyalty to your clan instead of faithfulness to God now rules.

What happened to the Somalia of the past? Come back home. Dear Somalis come back home.

What happened to your loving heart oh ancient Somalia? What happened to the peace and joy that flooded your land? Why have you replaced your sandy beaches with blood? Instead of tolerance there is hatred; instead of honesty there are lies; oh where o where has your love gone oh ancient Somalia?

Jesus told a story about a man who had two sons.

“A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.”

All those years the young man’s father was crying out “Come home”. With tears in his eyes crying out to his God – bring him home oh God, bring my son home.

How many of your souls my dear Somalis are crying out today – I should come home. We should get back to where we were. We should get back to God.

And so it is. My dear Somalis. Your country is in ruins. So much blood has been shed over these last 25 years or so. So many meaningless deaths, so much hatred and violence and suffering. Isn’t it about time you came home?