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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

oscar romero service (in i-phone photos)

This weekend, our community hosted an Oscar Romero service with All People's Church, a Lutheran church close to our neighborhood.  It was my first time at All People's, and I was so impressed with the people I met from their church community and with the church itself.  This building is a hidden gem - such beautiful architecture, stained glass windows, and artwork! 

Oscar Romero is one of my social justice heories heroes.  I first learned about him in 7th grade thanks to this filmMrs. Guarino showed us (weird - I have totally forgetten how to spell my teacher's name!).  Here's a bit about the Salvadoran Archbishop that we shared at the service: 

In the 1970’s and early 80’s in El Salvador, a violent and oppressive military government kidnapped and executed dissenters. When Oscar Romero became Archbishop of San Salvador on Feb. 22, 1977, he was expected to remain quiet about the situation. Instead, he became an outspoken critic of violence and injustice. Our faith, Romero said, must cause us to speak out; we cannot remain in silence.  Today, we are still inspired by the words of San Romero de las Americas and we pray that we might listen to his words carefully and follow his example in challenging injustice in our world, especially in the Latin American region he loved.

Romero was killed on March 24, 1980, by a military assassin while he was saying mass.  The Salvadoran civil war started after his death until 1981 and ended with peace talks in 1992.  Before his death, Romero prophecized that if he were killed, he would rise again in the Salvadoran people.  His prophecy proved correct as Romero is remembered for being a hero and martyr both in El Salvador and around the world.  We also shared the prayer that is often attributed to Romero, but was actually written by Bishop Ken Untener.  The prayer captures the essence of what many social justice advocates strive to remember and work for  

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement
says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

Since Paul helped organize the event, he asked me to speak about my Jesuit martyr paintings.  I was very brave, and said "yes, of course I will!"  The Jesuit martyrs knew Romero and came to have a deep respect for him - their legacies and messages are closely tied.  It was such an honor to share about my paintings again, and I was excited to find out that All People's will be displaying the framed picture in their sanctuary!  

What a great way to spend a Sunday - justice and ecumenism!  Here's a link to my friend Laura's blog who currently works at All People's and links to my previous posts on the Jesuit martyrs (parts 1 and 2).

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