Earlier this year a man's arm was bitten off while he swam the canal between the mainland and a small island. Some say it was a shark, some say it was a swordfish. All are thinking about the curse.
Curses and the work of evil spirits central to the way ni-Vanuatu think about life. If someone is sick, has an accident, or has no children, people look not to the material cause, but to the spiritual cause. It was an evil spirit. Someone worked a curse upon them.
A few months prior to shark incident mentioned above, the community had held special services and prayer in order to lift a curse on the community. The curse had been manifest in various ways; poor harvest, empty nets and sharks in the canal. After the transformation service, nets were full of fish, people were safely swimming the canal and there was hope for a good harvest.
It was believed that the community was under a curse because of the way the community had treated missionaries in the past. In particular (I gather) there is a group of rocks here at Talua upon which people were killed; perhaps some missionaries were killed there or perhaps someone spoke badly about them or to them. Sometimes the curse is linked directly with the curses at the end of Deuteronomy.
The transformation service involved obtaining forgiveness from God so that the curse would be lifted. It also involved the community letting go of 'old ways' of thinking which included fear of evil spirits and sharks and focussing only on Christ. Thus it would be safe to swim the canal.
It is in this context that I want to write about how we ought to think about curse as Christians. There are a whole hodge-podge of ideas here, and I won't address all of them. I want to think about and write short papers on;
A biblical theology of 'curse' and 'blessing'.
Who disobeyed; us or our parents? (about the idea of generational curse)
The real reason for our suffering in Santo.
Sharks: our friends or our enemies?