The Sukuma thanksgiving song, The Self-reliant Orphan
Lamb, tells the story of a baby sheep whose mother dies. A part of the song
goes: "The orphan lamb who was taught by its mother before her death to graze on
tender shoots of grass (and not just to depend on its mother’s milk) will not
die of hunger." The lamb has learned from its mother not to depend on milk alone
but also to eat tender and moist grass. After its mother’s death the lamb can
take care of itself. The song contains the proverb The orphan lamb does not die
of hunger. This song-proverb on the lamb can be applied to Jesus Christ who
before his death left humankind the medicine of eternal life in the Eucharist.
He gave as nourishment his body and blood as the food and drink of everlasting
life. In another part of the Sukuma song Kadulyu sings:
What can my enemies do to me? They are powerless against
the magical medicine left to me by my master. Just look at the way I walk. I
swagger like one in complete control of the situation without fear. I swat my
enemies like so many flies. If they put magical medicine in my path to trap me,
I pass without being harmed in the least.
Jesus left his disciples the "medicine of immortality" as
the church fathers called the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the medicine of
eternal life. In African languages Jesus himself has the applied Christian name
of the "Medicine of Eternal Life."