I write you this week from Guatemala, where the Vestry, staff and I have been on mission together all week. We have been deep in the heart of some the greatest pain and suffering imaginable. We have worked among and prayed with people in abject poverty, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, an innocent man paralyzed by a gangmember’s gunshot and children living in squalor. We have worked among the smells of human waste in people’s homes; we walk each day through city streets and shantytown alleys where the refuse of almost three million people is dumped each day.
For the past few days I’ve found myself either in tears or on the verge of tears; it’s a complex combination of sorrow for and solidarity with the oppressed and hurting, of feeling the fellowship of Christ’s suffering and the weight of his beautiful image, stamped upon every human being. My heart cries out, “this is not ok!” I’m angry, sad, defiant and determined all at the same time. This is not the way it’s supposed to be.
I thank God that I feel this way. I hope I feel it to my dying breath. May God protect me from ever making peace with this pain and injustice. May I never find a way to rationalize it, medicate it, cushion myself from it or otherwise become calloused and untouched by it.
I thank God that we also have witnessed much cause for hope and joy. We have seen the enormous power of the gospel to sprout improbable life from mere cracks in the stone of death, decay and despair.
This is a gift of ministry among the poor, a Lenten gift to me and the Vestry and staff, the privilege to live with Christ the crucified life, to be buried with him and to be raised with him to new life.
Thank you for praying for us this week. We have served together, sweat, laughed, worshipped and wept together. And look forward to our return to worship with our beloved community this Sunday.
Under His Mercy,