Sunday, July 28, 2013

locking our hearts

I love to visit Mexican churches.

No matter how large or small, there is always something interesting to discover.  A sainted chapel.  An odd piece of architecture.  Or merely watching the faithful in prayer or at mass.  The opportunity to discover something new about my own faith abounds.

At least, some of the time.

One of my greatest disappointments is the increasing number of Mexican churches that are shuttered during the day.  For security purposes I am told.  It is sad to think that locked doors come between seekers and those God seeks.

But I understand the phenomenon.  Far too well.  Far too personally.

The photograph at the top of this blog is not of a Mexican church.  Well, that is not  entirely true.  It is a Mexican church.  The multi-denominational church I attend in Melaque.

During the winter our congregation can hover near 200 during the busiest weeks.  Not so during the summer when our numbers dwindle to the hardy few who try to survive the tropical heat.  It is not unusual for summer Sunday services to consist of 13, 9, 5, or even 3 worshipers.

Smaller numbers means more interactive.  We have been discussing Philip Yancey's book on Prayer the past four weeks.  It has turned out to be a very practical conversation.

More practical than I had intended when we started the series.  This Sunday's lesson is "Prayer Problems."  And we will have a little problem upon which to focus our prayers.

A few months ago, burglars entered the walled area where we meet and took some items out of our storage trailer.  We beefed up the locks.  But apparently, not enough.  I received a call Saturday afternoon that the front gate was open -- as was the storage trailer.

The burglars this time showed a bit of sophistication.  A bolt cutter snipped the chain on our front gate -- and on the three trailer locks.  As if they were made of


There was not much in the trailer.  Some items for fundraisers to assist in our community services projects.  Bibles.  Hymnals.

What was in there was strewn about.  I have not yet had an opportunity to do an inventory.  Whatever was taken would have been distributed to our neighbors in need.

And I had to clean up what is apparently the international calling card of burglars who are frustrated with their take or who wish to show their symbolic power over their victims.  I represented several burglars with that scatological bent  in my lawyerly days.

Today our congregation will be faced with the problem of how we react.  After all, our faith is based on a messiah who was crucified between two thieves.  The same teacher who told us to pray for our enemies and those who spitefully use us.

It will be a good opportunity to see if we can put into action what we believe and what we know is true.

Our neighbors will be watching.

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