Edwin Markham

Outwitted by Edwin Markham
He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout,
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!

sábado, 16 de diciembre de 2017

Good Ripples

Good Ripples
I don´t watch much television, but when a friend lent me the DVD episodes of "Joan of Arcadia" a few years ago,  I found myself exploring the various philosophical and religious themes of the show with my teenage nephew who was at my house for a visit. One of my favorite lines is an exclamation of joy from Joan in "Jump," a thought-provoking episode about suicide:  "The ripples were good!"  I often think about how my actions, even the ones that seem unimportant in relation to the need which are so great, can ripple on to touch people and change faraway situations with results that I may never know about.
This week, the ripples came back to me in the form of photographs.  In September, Mexico suffered two devastating earthquakes.  In October, I facilitated a Roots in the Ruins: Hope in Trauma course with seven church leaders from Juchitán, Oaxaca, an area severely affected by the earthquakes.  In November, those leaders helped teach the "Doors of Hope" training workshop for Sunday school teachers.  And this week, the first group of Sunday School teachers sent me photos of their emotional first aid, trauma awareness, dignity and resilience building classes with the children, youth and adults of the Emanuel Church of the Nazarene in Juchitán, Oaxaca.  The ripples have been good!
Elena Huegel
Dec. 2017

miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017

The Widow's Mite (Might)

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.  Mark 12:42-44

I am invited to preach just outside the city of Juchitán, Oaxaca in an area where most of the residents are Zapotec people.  Just three years ago, the services were adapted into Spanish from Zapotec because the new minister does not speak the ancient Mesoamerican language. Zapotec words, phrases and songs spring from the hearts of the people in the congregation during the worship service like the little flowers decorating the auto repair and machine tool shop sanctuary.   Clanging work continues in the background even as the service begins.
Mary Katherine Ball, a Global Missions Intern on loan to the Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research while waiting her assignment in Ecuador, accompanies me past the rubble, to the solitary pillars of what is left of the church building.  "The sisters and brothers worked so hard to have a simple, comfortable, worthy place to worship," the pastor says shaking his head.  "Every single family in my congregation lost their home." 
As I preach, three Zapotec matriarchs look on from the second row,  their bright clothes trimmed with lace and long braids intertwined with ribbons.  They nod in agreement and then weep openly as I remind them that we are the children of the High King, worthy princes and princesses, who treat others with dignity just as we expect and demand to be treated.    "When you treat me with dignity, your own dignity is uplifted.  When I treat you with dignity, my dignity is strengthened.  Dignity is expressed and experienced in community."
At the end of the worship service, one of the matriarchs hands me an envelope. " Thank you for coming to visit us. This is our offering so that you might bless others in need," she tells me as she gives me a hug.
Ten dollars. Three matriarchs.  Widows?  Houseless?  Churchless?  Worthy queens in the court of the High King! Again the widow's mite, becomes the widows' might,  for nothing, not even a devastating earthquake can strip them of their dignity and their power to share that dignity with others!