Lectionary Selection: Luke 19:28-40
Prayers for Mexico:
We can be kind by David Friedman
So many things I can't control,
So many hurts that happen every day.
So many heartaches that pierce the soul,
So much pain that won't ever go away.
How do we make it better?
How do we make it through?
What can we do when there's nothing we can do?
We can be kind.
We can take care of each other.
We can remember that deep down inside
We all need the same thing.
And maybe we'll find
If we are there for each other
That together we'll weather whatever tomorrow may bring.
Nobody really wants to fight,
Nobody really wants to go to war.
If everyone wants to make things right
Then what are we always fighting for?
Does nobody want to see it?
Does nobody understand?
The power to heal is right here in our hands.
And it's not enough to talk about it.
Not enough to sing a song.
We must walk the walk about it
You and I,
Do or die,
We've got to try to get along.
We can be kind.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Mexico:
Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. And do not make God's Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God's mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. Ephesians 4:29-32 (GNT)
"Es muy amable." "He/she is very kind." When I talk to my friends here in Chiapas, this is the phrase they often use when speaking appreciatively of someone. "Amable" means two things in Spanish. It means to treat others in a pleasant, courteous, gentle and respectful way, but it also means to be worthy of being loved or lovable. The root of the word "amable" is the same as the root for "amor" or love. I asked Male, a Tzotzil Mayan friend, if the value of kindness or "amabilidad" had some equivalent in her culture and language, and if she had any idea why it is so important for people in Chiapas. She smiled and explained. "It is important for us to be known as 'one with a good heart.' Over the centuries, many people have come to our lands and mistreated us, looked down on our way of life and attacked our dignity. Perhaps it is because people have often not been kind that we so appreciate someone who is. To be 'amable' is a sign that you have been well taught by your parents, family and community. It means you know how to live rightly with others."
In San Cristóbal de las Casas, I have been on the receiving end of this kindness: the cab driver who helps me unload the groceries, the neighbor lady who greets me with a smile and asks about my health, the child at Sunday School who made me a card to let me know she missed me while I was away. I try to learn from the kindness around me and make it my daily practice, but when people are harsh and cruel or use insensitive language, it is hard to chose to respond differently. It is easier to be kind when the other person is kind first.
In Mexico, we are bombarded with negative news. We hear the tales as well as the gossip; the stories of violence, injustice and despair too often touch our lives directly or indirectly. Many of these stories make it into the international news. I am sure, however, that you didn't hear about the woman who returned my nephew's American passport when he accidentally dropped it on the street, or about the campaign in my neighborhood to plant trees and care for a nearby forest reserve that is important in replenishing the aquifer. In spite of so many pressures to become that place which is projected in the news, a nation of selfishness, corruption and fear, in Chiapas and in most of Mexico, one does not need to dig too deep to find the tradition of hospitality and a culture of kindness.
I was introduced to the idea of doing something special or choosing to practice a spiritual discipline, for Lent by my friends in the United Church of Christ as this was not part of my protestant upbringing in México. As I begin to prepare for Easter by writing this letter, a song which I believe is by David Friedman, keeps playing in my head. As you read the words above in the prayer, I hope you will consider accepting the challenge I have taken up for Lent: to learn from my Mexican coworkers and friends in Chiapas how to be kind: a worthy participant in the local as well as the global community, loving and loveable.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Elena Huegel
Mission Partners in Mexico:
- Confraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) (CICE)
- Congregational Christian Churches of Mexico
- Disciples of Christ Church in Mexico (IDCM)
- Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN)
- Las Memorias Hostel
- Melel Xojobal
- Mexican Roundtable
- International Service for Peace (SIPAZ)
- Theological Community of Mexico (TCM)
More information on Mexico: https://www.globalministries.org/mexico
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Mexico:
Elena Huegel serves with the Intercultural Research and Studies Institute (INESIN) in Mexico. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.