September 2013: Hearts Breaking, Minds Hearing
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4: 1
I recently accompanied a group visiting from the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Tennessee. It immediately seemed to me that they were a glowing and warm group. Because of that I believe we walked together during the entire week witnessing, breathing, smelling, feeling and touching the air, spaces and people that surrounded us. As we walked together in various settings, I saw myself differently than before. I was not only a woman representing the church as a missionary of color, but as a mother, as a Maya, as a member of a colonized people and an interpreter of the language and culture. As I processed the visit, I saw what my brothers and sisters meant when they said, “You got a full load”. But more important was the love I received from their visit. My role is to accompany visiting church delegations so they may open their eyes and have their hearts broken in such a way that together we may learn about the social reality of a colonized and oppressed people. And from that realization, we must also learn to ask questions, as individuals and as churches, about whether or not we are following Jesus’ example of love, justice and compassion with and among our brothers and sisters in Christ, abroad and at home. One lesson learned which impacted all of us who were present is found in the words of Presbyterian pastor Osmundo who said, “We are not investing in building churches but rather investing in building people”. What an opportune time to hear these words because they came at a “breaking point”, a point in which our hearts needed to feel and our minds needed to hear. Despite all of my feelings and my “full load”, I know that it is through this love that I too receive. That will enable me to continue to be resilient despite the social conflict and continuing repression in Guatemala.
“God of justice, free us from the tyranny of false choices. Grant us wisdom to integrate our thoughts, feelings and actions so that we may be integrated agents of transformation. Amen.” Dwight Lee Wolter
Gloria Vicente Canú is serving a three-year term with the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (Consejo Ecuménico Cristiano de Guatemala – CECG), as a consultant for communication, interpretation and women’s projects.