Down to Earth

Down to Earth

Acts 1: 6-8, 9-10
As Jesus tells his disciples that it is time for him to leave them, to be with them in a different way, the disciples, who have placed all their hopes and dreams in Jesus, ask him their most important question, a question that we ask still today. They ask him: when will God’s kingdom be established, when will the next installment of the divine plan take place? They wonder: is it now that their nation will be restored to them; is it now that they will once again have dignity as a nation? Is it now they can get out from under the oppression of the empire?

Image It is a question that those of that live in and have come to love the country of Honduras can understand. As we look around Honduras we see a beautiful country filled with wonderful people. But it is a country whose children are dying of starvation, whose politicians are corrupt, whose young people are fleeing to the United States or joining gangs, whose educational system is a disaster, and whose environment is being systematically destroyed. It is a country where an entire community, including children, lives off the garbage dump of the city of Tegucigalpa, daily sifting through refuse from homes and business and hospitals, seeking something that can be recycled and sold for them to survive yet another day. It is a country where under the oppressive forces of the global economy and multinational corporations, its people work for starvation wages to enrich a select few in other lands, including especially, the one I call home. We see these injustices and long to ask, “How long, oh God, until your kingdom comes, here in Honduras?”

Jesus responds to the most ardent hopes of the disciples as he responds to us today and says, “We can’t know for certain of such things as when or where, but we know HOW — you will get power only if you are down to earth, if your religion is bound to this time and place, for it is there that you are called to watch and be aware and it is there that you will be able to witness to me and to the divine plan for humankind everywhere, sharing my news all over the world and for all time.” And as they stand there watching him disappear they are interrupted by angels who come to emphasize the point that Jesus had just made to his startled disciples. “Why do you stand their looking into the sky?” they ask.

Image We stand in the in-between time, the time of advent before we experience once again the birth of Christ, a time of waiting and preparation. How are we to wait? How are we to witness to the presence of Christ in our lives in this in-between time?

While they await the coming of the Christ Child again The Theological Community of Honduras teaches a justice oriented theology that encourages re-reading of the Bible in a way that is life-affirming, a theology that embraces ecumenism that respects the land and all of God’s creation that honors the gifts of women and men. In their basic education program that gives opportunities at low cost to students wanting to finish junior high and high school; in their technical program for young people at high “social economic risk” to fall into a life of crime, drugs, or gangs; in the preschool for the poorest of the poor living in unbelievable conditions in the Bario where the seminary is located or in the HIV/AIDS seminars, CTEH is firmly committed to being “down to earth.”

The ascension is about an upside down kingdom, one where you don’t look to the sky, but here, at your neighbors living in adobe homes in the poorest villages of Honduras, here, at youth turning to gangs because of lack of opportunity elsewhere, here, at bony children who have become so hopeless that they have ceased to cry in hunger, here where you find in them the presence of Christ. It is a celebration of the power of the Holy Spirit, the power that can transform lives and end oppression, and cure disease, and halt wars and stop violence against women and end alcoholism and drug addiction and malnutrition and hunger. Why do you look to the heavens? Look here, at one another. He has come. He is here. He is coming.

Prayer: Holy God of Advent, as we wait once again with hope for your coming help us not to be observation towers for watching the heavens. Teach us that as we are called not to build heavenly cities, but earthly ones, that the mission we have received from our Teacher Jesus it to make all humankind one community, one church and one gathering. Amen.

Bruce and Linda Hanson are assigned to the Christian Commission on Development (CCD) to serve the Honduran Theological Community (CTH). Bruce is teaching HIV/AIDS education, prevention and care, while Linda is teaching theological courses.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 November 2006 )