Manihera and Kereopa (1846) - Reaching Rivals
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:44-45a (NRSV)
Manihera and Kereopa were part of a Maori tribe who, having received the Gospel from missionaries themselves, felt called to take the Good News to rival tribesmen.
Westerners had taken the message of Christianity to the Maoris of New Zealand in the early decades of the 19th century, and at Christmas 1846, a congregation of 2,000 gathered at Whanganui. The day after this, a missionary meeting was held at which Manihera and Kereopa of the tribe Ngatiruanui were sent out to teach the Gospel to their fellow Maoris. They chose first to go to Rangihaeata and then onto Tokanu, where a Maori warrior named Herekiekie lived. Despite the long-standing feud between Herekiekie’s tribe and his own tribe, Manihera felt he was doing God’s will by taking His message to this tribesman.
On their way to Tokanu, a group of 30 warriors lay in wait for them, and as the party of Christians approached, they were fired upon. Kereopa was shot dead on the spot. Manihera was wounded but then cut down by the warriors’ hatchets.
A month later Manihera and Kereopa’s pastor, Mr Taylor, went to the tribe that had killed them and negotiated a peace between the feuding tribes.
Let us help each other
by our prayers,
so that God and Christ
and the whole choir of angels, may come to our aid
in our time of suffering, when we shall need their
assistance the most.
Nemesian (died 257)
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing
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