Purple painted fingers
picking black berries
in the orange patch of the sun's rays
yellow leaves pause at the summer's end
until blown from heaven to earth.
Nature tucks a decaying blanket
up to her chin and settles
in for the winter
I seek solace on Good Friday
from the death of dreams.
domingo, 31 de marzo de 2013
viernes, 29 de marzo de 2013
domingo, 24 de marzo de 2013
The vision statement of the
declares that the purpose of this project is to is to create a space for the
strengthening of relationships between people and God, themselves, others and
nature. “Today, doctors, philosophers, theologians, and scientists are
exploring the frontiers of a world where relationship, instead of isolation, is
the key to understanding reality. From
the perspective of ecology, systems thinking, and the new physics, the universe
is a dynamic community of interconnected energy events in which every unique
being emerges from the influence of the entire universe... Love, instead of
alienation, is essential for reality, according to the growing world vision be
it from the perspective of metaphysics, theology, or science. (Epperly 109).” Shalom Center
[EH1] The objectives of the Shalom Center seek to establish transformative relationships in three essential areas: in the person or individual, in the community, and in the environment. To reach the restoration of a relationship, it is indispensable first to pass through a reconciliation process. According to John Paul Lederach in his book Building Peace, the restoration of relationships at all levels of a society is essential to achieve sustainable peace. The restoration of relationships and the reconciliation between God and people, people with each other, and people with nature is accomplished through the delicate and paradoxical balance between truth and mercy, between justice and peace. Both paradoxes create the necessary energy to maintain the equilibrium along the path toward restoration, reconciliation, and the restructure of relationships. (30)
To open this space for reconciliation, we must create programs and organizational structures that are in harmony with the values and the established objectives. To be in harmony means to seek to maintain the balance between the truth with its transparency and recognition and with mercy with its acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and healing. It is to balance between the rights, restitution and equality of justice, and the unity, respect, and well-being of peace. There cannot be neither mercy without truth nor peace without justice. (Lederach, Building 30-31) The challenge of the
is to explore the
paths of this dynamic balance through which one reaches the holy ground of
lunes, 18 de marzo de 2013
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Acts 4:33-35
An elderly widow is cutting coupons and saving every extra penny for a special offering to be held at church. With her husband and her children gone, she has to make every cent count. She is not a “sweet little old church lady,” but one of those crotchety complainers who doesn’t want any changes to come to her congregation or her community; and yet, she is saving the pennies from each coupon she uses at the store for the offering she will give to help build a Blessing Cabin in Chile on the other side of the world.
He travelled overseas with a church group when he was fifteen years old. He sang, worked, and made friends with teenagers who spoke a different language but worshipped the same God. When he heard the news, he knew he had to do something to help. So, he designed and made t-shirts imprinted with a drawing of a small house. Now he is selling the t-shirts to raise money to help build Blessing Cabins for the people he learned to love in Chile, that faraway country on the other side of the world.
Eighty men and a few women gather at dusk after a long workday. They are building Blessing Cabins to shelter to as many brothers and sisters as they can before the winter rains begin. They work until late, night after night, week after week, volunteering after hours at their regular jobs, continuing all day on Saturdays, and stopping only for church services on Sunday afternoons. Though small, the Blessing Cabins, now taking take form in the skilled hands of these volunteer carpenters and master builders, are not only dry and warm, but pretty and worthy of the families who will inhabit them. The resources for the building materials have come from offerings given in churches on the other side of the world.
Richard has been watching closely over the small congregation in his care for several weeks, scrambling to scrounge up food, water, clothing, and tents. After the first devastating dawn, the full moon filled him with hope even when the sun disappeared each day and still there was no electricity or running water. But then, his concern grew as the moon began to wane and the days shortened signalling the rapid passing of the summer and the arrival of the first winter rains. The first three Blessing Cabins arrived just in time, small but sturdy defences against the bitter winds, put together by the efforts of sisters and brothers nearby and on the other side of the world.
Valentina went to bed Friday night thinking about having fun on the last weekend before the start her senior year of high school. She awoke at 3:34 in the morning to a thundering roar in the pitch-blackness. Everything in her room began to fall, crashing to the floor as the earth itself convulsed. Her mother screamed. The roof caved in. Then, after two minutes and forty-five seconds of terror, came the silence. In the first trembling light of dawn, neighbours pulled Valentina unhurt from the rubble. Her father and pregnant mother died when they ran back inside the house to rescue her. When Valentina lost her parents and her home, her church family embraced her with tender care, and within two weeks, Richard and the volunteer builders had her settled, with her sister, into a new Blessing Cabin. Valentina started back to school as soon as it reopened with a new determination to graduate and to be the first in her family to finish high school. She dares to dream again of college and a career. Valentina, whose name is derived from the word for “courage” in Spanish, experienced the ripples of compassion spreading throughout Chile and arriving from around the world after the February 27th, 2010 earthquake.
Courageous compassion is throwing a stone in a pool of water, watching it disappear, and believing that the ripples will spread out beyond the scope of the initial action. From the “daring to do something for others” act, whether it be as simple as snipping coupons or selling t-shirts or as sacrificial as caring for a community during a national emergency, or running back inside a falling house to save a daughter’s life, spring invisible wavelets encircling people who may never know who threw the first pebble into the water. Either as individuals or as communities of faith, whether we are able to witness the effects or not, we are called to send compassion ripples around the world by giving of ourselves to those in need.
sábado, 9 de marzo de 2013
Step into Shalom
In the whispers of the dawn
We have heard the voice of grace
Stepping out into Shalom
We walk in faith.
Take my hand, brother
Let us stand, sister
We will step together into shalom
As we learn to listen
With hearts drawn open
We will step together into shalom.
We have dared to dream God’s dream
Justice, mercy, truth and peace
Called into a sacred space
We seek God’s face.
In each other we have found
Community freely bound
By our covenant shared in Christ
We stand for life.
Words by Elena Huegel
Music by Adam Bergeron
To listen to the tune of this song, listen on youtube
domingo, 3 de marzo de 2013
The burst of sparks
high in the night sky
booming against the
clock chimes and church bells
call out “midnight”
to the warmth
and humidity of the
New Year’s eve.
When the fireworks finish falling,
and the clock’s chime checks out twelve,
and the church bells clanging fade away,
all that is left is the
frightening silence of the
the pinpoint stars
and a heart beat.
The aftermath of midnight
is the glistening teeth
and red tongue just before
the swallow down the
slippery throat to despair.
The black hole stretches to
engulf and squelch
the last rays of Peace
Then it is there and in a wink,
it is gone.
A firefly’s light
remnant of the sun
blinks against the emptiness
and shifts the focus from:
dark sky to a billion stars
dungeon hole to eternal freedom
stagnated selfishness to dancing harmony
loneliness to synchronized solitude
helplessness to hopefulness.
In an instant the lens rotates
A tiny turn
to choose tonight to see the
darkness of the sky
or the light of the stars.
Elena Huegel, January 1st , 2001