Bulletin for Sunday, December 23, 2012: 4th Sunday of Advent


This is coming to you from El Salvador. It is one of the blessings of the computer age that distance doesn{t stop communication... if you have access to a computer... and the reading and writing skills to use it. Those two things leave out an enormous percentage of the world.

Being here, I am constantly aware of my place of privilege in the world. Luckily, I am also constantly aware of how much I still have to learn. Yesterday I learned a little Spanish from a three year old... he was saying something correctly and I realized that I've been saying it wrong for years!

It is a lovely thing to be here in Santa Ana with the community of Iglesia Bautista de Shekina. This community gets more and more beautiful all the time. Saturday night we shared Christmas dinner at church. Sunday night we went Christmas caroling, then went back to church for hot chocolate and firecrackers, which are traditional here for Christmas and New Year's. I think there were about seventy of us traipsing up and down the unpaved, rocky street, visiting all the neighbors and singing to them. Lots of kids! And tonight we will go to a local homeless shelter where the community serves dinner every Tuesday night.

There is a lot of love in this community. People get loved and treasured, from the newborn babies all the way up to the wonderful group of Hermanas who form the core of the community and have presided over its birth and growth over the past 20 years.

Being here is a little like being on retreat, and this week I am reading Shane Claiborne's book "Jesus for President". He mentions that if we want to "Make poverty history," we will need to also "make affluence history." It is harder to see how human beings suffer under affluence than under poverty! But our affluence cuts us off from one another. We are well fed and clothed and housed, but we lose our sense of interdependence. I do not mean to romanticize poverty. Everyone should have what they need to live and to thrive. But having too much, as is the norm in the US, is not healthy for the soul. Not for the soul of the individual, or of all of us collectively.

We need to begin to see our love affair with "things" and security as the disease of the spirit that it is. We need to open our hands, not just to share what we have, but to let go, to be open to God, to trust. Trying to control our lives and avoid pain at all costs simply doesn{t work. Radical dependence on God... imagine if we lived that way.

Saturday I will return to our little church. I hope that I can trust more deeply, let go of worry and fear, and know that the God who made us can be trusted for all we need. May we build more bridges between the affluent North and the suffering South, and even out the inequities on either side of the border. May we trust that God is good, and all is well.

Blessed Christmas to you. May you grow ever closer to the God who comes into the world unprotected, and grow in the ways God is dreaming for you.

Love and light to all

Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
s St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620