Tag Archives: Guatemala

15 September 2019

Walking / slow jogging. Morningside Gardens.
Stretching. Gym at the Shire.
Birmingham Sunday – Joan Baez
Mississippi Goddam – Nina Simone
4 Little Girls -Wendell Morrison
Alabama – John Coltrane Quartet
Birmingham Sunday – Rhiannon Giddons
Nicaraguamor – Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy
El Encarguito – Guillermo Anderson
La Crisis en el Verso – Pescozada
Chucaro – Cocofunka
Like a Tree – Passiflora
Un Dia Mas – Lya Barrioz
Ocarina – Agua Clara
Peregrino De Tu Cielo – Alejo Garcia
Por Si Acaso No Regreso – Celia Cruz
Caballo Viejo – Viva Quetzal

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Filed under Exercise, Music, New York, playlist

Lent 2017, day 11

“I love the chance to remind them that Christ’s love is not just contained in their home sanctuary, but that it is waiting in any place they worship, connecting them with Christians around the world.”
Katie Styrt
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

Love binds us together.
Binds us to Christians.
Binds us to all God’s family.
Love experienced in worship.
Love experienced in daily life
as we offer each moment to God.
Love binds us to people in the United States
who struggle with racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ableism,
and related, intersecting systems.
Love binds us to girls in Guatemala who died and were injured
in a fire at a shelter where they were locked in.
Love binds us to Shiite pilgrims killed and injured
in bombs in Damascus.
Love binds us
and brings tears
and inspires anger.
May love move me to act.

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Uncategorized

In This Place

This is the manuscript I took into the pulpit at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church today. The preached sermon varied from the manuscript in some instances as the preaching event took place.

People often ask if I miss serving as a pastor in a congregation. I reply that I miss the community, the shared life. But I feel called to my work at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. I make mistakes; challenges and frustrations arise, but I believe I am where God has called me.

And then come those Sundays when I have the privilege to take part in the sacrament of baptism. And in the joy and wonder of the moment, I feel a tug to parish ministry.

Because I knew I would have that privilege this morning, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about children. Of course along with the filled expectation of the sacrament, this week has also brought tragedy and sorrow and hope.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Israeli children who listen for sirens and take refugee in bomb shelters.
Palestinian children killed upon a beach, under the crushing weight of collapsed homes, on the streets of Gaza.
Israeli and Palestinian children bound together in the violent spiral, not of their making, of occupation and resistance.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Nigerian girls abducted from schools and homes, wrenched from their families, held by a rebel group.
Children of Sudan’s Nuba Mountains who huddle in caves as bombs dropped by the government rain around them.
South Sudanese children whose stomachs knot from hunger and malnutrition that threaten their lives.
Syrian children caught in a chaotic cross fire.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Children forced to carry guns larger than they are tall in combat.
Children who breathe air-filled with dust and sometimes toxic gases in mines for gold.
Children used, violated, and exploited.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Children fleeing rape and gang recruitment and violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and parts of Guatemala who make their way to the United States to be placed in detention centers where they may experience cramped cells without enough food, beds, toilets or showers.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Children who lost a parent when a plane went down over the eastern Ukraine.
Children with AIDS or whose parents have AIDS whose lives will be affected by the loss of the researchers and scientists on that plane.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Children in our country whose lives are constricted and diminished by racism.
Children bullied because of their sexual orientation.
Children who know violence in their homes, their schools, and their communities.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

New babies, long-awaited, welcomed, cherished.
Children who receive encouragement, affection, support, and nurture.
Children who enjoy life, bring delight to friends, and share love with family members.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

And I have wept.
Sweet tears of joy and grace.
Hot, bitter tears of grief and pain and anger.
Purging, cleansing tears that have renewed my commitment.

And I have prayed.
For the circumstances that wound children.
For the children. By name when possible.

Prayer opens me to God.

Prayer also opens me to the children and circumstances for which I pray. It binds me to the children be they in Damascus or Detroit. It calls me to commit to act on behalf of the children for whom I pray.

Prayer makes and nurtures the relationships, key to pursuing justice. And prayer for justice and wholeness in one setting draws me out of myself to experience anew the connections between all forms of injustice. It reminds me of the interdependence of people and life. It transforms me as it leads me to pray—and then act—more broadly than I would have otherwise done.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

And I have advocated with government officials and others who are in positions to act to reshape realities for children.
And I have made contributions to groups caring for children in the United States and abroad.
And I have invited and challenged my family and friends to learn and pray and act.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

And I have come to this place, this sanctuary, this congregation.

I come to stand in community. For community is essential to confront the realities of the world. Only together can we stand against the forces that violate children; alone we cannot stand.

I come to sing songs, break bread, share the cup.

I come to celebrate with a family as they present their children for baptism. Affirming their faith in Jesus Christ in a world broken, fearful, and frightening. Proclaiming hope. Sharing love.

I come to remember the grace of God in Jesus Christ. In ways that may surprise us, frighten us, awe us, God is at work. Here. Now. In this community.

When I experience the presence of God, I join Jacob in his affirmation of wonder and faith: “Surely God is in this place — and I did not know it!”

And knowing that God is in this place, reminds me, fills me with hope that God in Jesus Christ is in all places. Even in places where heartache and horror seem strong; even in places where violations occur; even in places where people and relationships are most badly broken and fear and wrong seems strongest, God is at work.

In this place, I am reminded that God is at work in all places. And that sustains and challenges me to look for how God is at work and, as the Holy Spirit gives me grace, to join in that work.

Children have been in my heart and on my mind this week.

Faith in God in Christ have put them there.

And in this place, God invites us all to join in caring for the children. The children of this congregation. The children of this community. All the children, all God’s children of the world. May we hear and respond.

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Filed under Current Events, New York, Worship

Purple flowers: Guatemala

My friend Amanda Craft and I worked together for a several years with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. She left first, going to Guatemala as a mission co-worker with the IENPG (the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala) in women’s leadership development.

Amanda blogs about her ministry. Her reflection on the recent Lenten season focused on, among other things, the color purple. Acknowledging purple as the liturgical color for Lent, Amanda reflects about purple flowers – purple jacaranda blossoms actually:

The dried flower arrangements that adorn doorways are filled with purple flowers.  Howev450px-BlueJacarandaFlowerser, what I have not noticed before are the purple jacaranda blossoms.   Jacaranda trees are tall and large, and when the flowers are in bloom they pack the limbs as if they are leaves.  The flowers are small and delicate giving off a soft, sweet smell.  Guatemalans respect these seemingly insignificant blossoms for their medicinal properties.  Boiling the flowers in a tea is a natural alternative to calming microbial infections in the digestive system (a common problem in Guatemala).

The irony is not lost on me.  Here is a purple flower that has healing properties enjoying full bloom during a liturgical season focused on healing.  God has such an interesting was of speaking, no?  Jesus’ death is significant since it was a divine act meant to heal the many wrongs, shortcomings, and sins of the world.  I am reminded of this through a tiny tree blossom.  The power to heal does not have to come from something grandiose, but through delicate, small acts that have the capacity to transform.

With Amanda, I challenge myself to notice more small, healing, transforming acts.

The photograph was taken on 17th June 2004 by Stephen Lea in San Luis Obispo. It is found on the Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

See you along the Trail.

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