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!

miércoles, 21 de noviembre de 2018

La posada

                At the grocery store yesterday, the smells from a newly arranged corner of the fruit and vegetable area transported  me back to my early childhood at the Theological Community in Mexico City.  There were "tejocotes" (the internet translates this fruit as the Mexican hawthorne), cinnamon sticks, "piloncillo" (blocks of distilled and hardened sugar cane), tangerines, raw sugar cane, raisins and tamarind fruit, the ingredients for the Mexican Christmas hot punch, neatly arranged in preparation for the coming of advent.  I just stood there a minute breathing in the memories.
                "La Posada," the Mexican Christmas party, is a special time to remember how Mary and Joseph could not find a place in a Bethlehem inn.  I remember the delicious spicy smell of the hot punch lacing the cold winter night as we decorated with paper flags and a crèche (in our family, complete with the kings traveling to the manger on the flat cars of a Lionel train!)  The piñatas back then were stars made of paper maché with a clay pot core, not filled so much with candy as they are nowadays, but with raw sugar cane (we would rip the peel off with our teeth, suck on the sweet fibers, and then spit these out into the yard when we were finished) and tangerines.  I still love tangerines while I am forever leery of piñatas!  I haven´t forgotten how as children we had to dodge the flying shards of the clay pot breaking at the wild swings of  a blindfolded child armed with a wooden broomstick.  In Spanish, we would question, "¿a quién se le ocurre?", or "who came up with that bright idea?"! 
                One of the Christmas carols sung especially during "La posada" has been running through my mind all month.  This traditional song involves reenacting part of the Christmas story. Most of the  party goers stand outside the home or place where the party has been prepared.  They are dressed in costumes and two people are chosen to represent Mary and Joseph.  Those inside the house represent all who filled the inn, and someone is selected to be the keeper.   Then those outside and inside each sing a verse of the following carol.

Joseph, Mary and those outside sing:
En el nombre del cielo os pido posada, pues no puede andar mi esposa amada. 
In the name of heaven, I ask you for shelter for my beloved wife can go no farther.

The innkeeper and those inside respond:
Aquí no es mesón, sigan adelante. Yo no puedo abrir, no sea algún tunante.
This is not an inn, get on with you. I cannot open the door, you might be a rogue.

Joseph, Mary and those outside sing:
No seas inhumano, tennos caridad, que el Dios de los cielos te lo premiará.
Do not be inhuman, show some charity and God in heaven will reward you.

The innkeeper and those inside respond:
Ya se pueden ir y no molestar, porque si me enfado, los voy a apalear.
You may go now and don´t bother us anymore, because if I get angry, I will beat you.

Joseph, Mary and those outside sing:
Venimos rendidos desde Nazaret. Yo soy carpintero, de nombre José.
We are worn out, all the way from Nazareth. I am a carpenter named Joseph.

The innkeeper and those inside respond:
No me importa el nombre, déjenme dormir, pues ya les digo que no hemos de abrir.
Never mind your name, let me sleep. I´ve already told you, we won´t open the door.

Joseph, Mary and those outside sing:
Posada te pedimos, amado casero, por sólo una noche para la Reina del Cielo.
We request lodging, dear innkeeper, for only one night, for the Queen of Heaven.

The innkeeper and those inside respond:
Pues si es una Reina quien lo solicita, ¿cómo es que de noche anda tan solita?
If she is a queen who is asking, why is it that she´s out at night, wandering so alone?

Joseph, Mary and those outside sing:
Mi esposa es María, es Reina del Cielo, y madre va a ser del Divino Verbo.
My wife is Mary, she is the Queen of Heaven, she will by the mother to the Divine Word.

The innkeeper and those inside respond:
¿Eres tu José? ¿Tu esposa es María?  Entren, peregrinos, no los conocía.
Is that you Joseph?  Your wife is Mary?  Enter pilgrims, I didn´t recognize you.

Joseph, Mary and those outside sing:
Dios pague señores, vuestra caridad, y que os colme el cielo de felicidad.
May the Lord reward you for your charity, and may heaven fill you with happiness.

The innkeeper and those inside respond:
Dichosa la casa que abriga este día a la Virgen Pura, la hermosa María.
Blessed is the home harboring on this day, the pure virgin, the beautiful Mary.

At this point, the door is opened and those outside enter as all sing:
Entren santos peregrinos, peregrinos, reciban este rincón, no de esta pobre morada sino de mi corazón.
Esta noche es de alegría, de gusto y de regocijo, porque hospedaremos aquí a la Madre de Dios Hijo.
Enter holy pilgrims, pilgrims, receive this corner, not of this poor dwelling, but of my heart.
Tonight is for happiness, for pleasure and rejoicing, for tonight we will give lodging to the Mother of God the Son.

                I have been thinking about these words and whether Mary, Joseph, and their unborn child would called by a different name today.  Could they be tourists,  migrants, refugees, sojourners, or internally displaced persons instead of pilgrims?
                We have all of these  here in Chiapas as we prepare to celebrate advent, "La posada" and Christmas. While the world news focuses on one migrant caravan, and the Mexican government attempts to respond to internal and international pressure, the news and the government are silent with regards to the over 1000 children, women, men, and elderly illegally evicted from their lands last week here in the Chiapan highlands.  This is another of several communities to be forcibly removed from their lands in the last year.  Political parties, international mining, energy and forestry companies as well as the cartels are vying for the valuable land where the native Mayan people have lived.  One strategy for "emptying" areas of their populations in order to free territory for business is to pit one community against another, stirring the embers of unresolved land titles.  It is nearly impossible to unravel the tangled web of the interests and secret alliances of the big three power brokers: the Mexican government with its political parties, the multinational companies and the mafia (who traffic weapons, drugs and people.)
·         Internally displaced people come, fleeing from violence in their mountain communities.
·         Tourists from Europe and the United States come to see the ancient Mayan archeological sites.
·         Migrants from the Caribbean, Central and South  American countries come, some to stay and some on their way to the US. 
·         Refugees come, escaping from death threats especially in Honduras and el Salvador and now also Nicaragua.
·         Pilgrims come, seeking alternative medicines from Mayan healers or to visit communities in resistance and learn from their political and social proposals.
·         Sojourners come, people who fall in love with the beauty and diversity of Chiapas, stay a while, and then move on.

                In southern Mexico, people are constantly on the move. Hence, it is wonderful place to practice the gifts and challenges of hospitality.  The people of the Roots in the ruins: hope in trauma program in Juchitán, Oaxaca, whom I have been visiting for over a year ever since the September 2017 earthquakes, are an example of how the hospitality of  "La posada" expresses itself in the Mexican day to day.  Some are not yet living in their own homes after the earthquakes because they can´t afford the rising costs of construction.  Others do not yet have jobs because local businesses have not recovered from the disaster.  And yet, as the most recent migrant caravan  from Central America passed about 25 miles from their town, they spent several weeks preparing hot meals, driving out to the highway where the migrants passed, and serving those in need in any way they could. 
We know what it is like to be without a home, to want something better for your family,  but to feel powerless.  We also know how it feels to receive the love, care and accompaniment of the people of God who came to us in the hour of our greatest need.  We had to share what little we have with those who have nothing, not even a safe place to sleep.
                The people of Juchitán have inspired me to find new ways to celebrate "La posada," the Mexican hospitality party this Christmas.  I invite you, too, to open a corner of  your hearts to pilgrims, tourists,  migrants, refugees, sojourners, and internally displaced persons and to remember Hebrews 13:2 (CEV) "Be sure to welcome strangers into your home.  By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it."

lunes, 29 de octubre de 2018

Prayer for the Roots in the ruins: hope in trauma facilitator training

They are coming,
from the south and the north
and from next door.
In in search of healing
for themselves, for others, for creation.
Guide their steps,
and the hands of pilots, drivers,
and transportation crews,
so that all may safely embark
and disembark
at the mark of their quest,
high in the Chiapan heartland.

Join us in praying  for the Roots in the ruins: hope in trauma facilitator training next week!

I bind myself today, hymn by Saint Patrick

1 I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.
2 I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation,
his baptism in the Jordan river,
his death on cross for my salvation,
his bursting from the spiced tomb,
his riding up the heavenly way,
his coming at the day of doom,
I bind unto myself today.
3 I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.
4 I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay,
God’s ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
God’s hand to guide, God’s shield to ward,
the word of God to give me speech,
God’s heavenly host to be my guard.
5 Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
6 I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three,
of whom all nature has creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
salvation is of Christ the Lord!

Source: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #6

viernes, 5 de octubre de 2018


Goodness is stronger than evil;
                        love is stronger than hate;
                        light is stronger than darkness;
                        life is stronger than death.
                        Victory is ours, victory is ours
                        through Christ who loved us.   Desmond Tutu

viernes, 21 de septiembre de 2018

Blessing from Cuba

Blessing from Cuba
(The congregation forms a circle large enough to include everyone.  Each person either places their hand on the head of the person to their right or their right palm on the back of the left hand of the person to the right.) 
                May God prosper you.
                May your days be long and your nights serene.
                May your friendships honor you, and your family love you.
                May you eat at your table, and
                may you be gathered into to God's embrace
                with a smile.

Sept. 2018

martes, 14 de agosto de 2018

Not who we want to be; who we are

Not who we want to be; who we are

The Otomíes of the state of Querétaro are one of the original peoples of México.  The state of Querétaro borders the state of San Luis Potosí.  This doll is crafted by the Otomíes and exemplifies the diversity of women or of humanity.  Each doll is handmade, and even though the dolls look alike, each one is also different and unique.

Just like us.

Doña Severa, an over-90- year-old artisan from the municipality of Amealco, Queretaro, stated in an interview during the Fourth Festival of the Indigenous Doll (2016):

"Our people know that these dolls are not like the plastic ones massively produced in series by machines.  Our dolls are produced with our hands.  This is not who we want to be; it is who we are."

God made you and me with God's hands, and this is not who we want to be; it is who we are: sons and daughters of God by pure grace.

This doll's name is Joy which in Otomí means: Earth.

Written by Nohemí Nidia Bravo P., from the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.  Translation by Elena Huegel

martes, 7 de agosto de 2018


Bike path 

Zipping past
frowns and glares
cheered on by flags of green and gold.


Wind fights with leaves,  
which fall into carpets
of failed resistance.  

Bird Calls

Morning bird chirp 
afternoon song.
At moonlight, owl screech.

jueves, 31 de mayo de 2018

How could anyone

How Could Anyone Ever Tell You
by Libby Roderick
How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could any one fail to notice
that your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my soul

domingo, 27 de mayo de 2018

Blessing by Dag Hammerskold

May God give you a pure heart to see Him, a humble heart to hear Him, a loving heart to serve Him, a faithful heart that He might abide in you.  And may our Gracious God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and fill your souls, now and always. Amen

viernes, 23 de marzo de 2018

The rose that grew from a crack in the concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared. 

lunes, 12 de marzo de 2018

I seek you soul

In the midst of the storm
I seek you soul.
Life's companion
hidden in the heartbeat
of daily doings.

I seek you soul
in my roots
past experiences
history, culture, art, faith
inheritance firmly planted
where not even the fiercest storm
can unearth me.

I seek you soul
flying with wings
feathered dreams
reach clarity
in thin air
and twirl among the colors
breath of invention and imagination
Creating life before the hurricane
that cannot defeat me..

29 August 2011
Elena Huegel