Don’t let go…Don’t let go…

Picture by Andre Jordan from If You’re Happy and You know it

Sermonette preached on Monday 30 June 2008 in the Ecumenical Centre Geneva
Praying through the ecumenical prayer cycle for Bolivia, Chile and Peru

Texts Psalm 69 and Mathew 10 24 -32

Don’t let go…

The Psalmist says:
More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;

And Christ in the gospel teaches:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Prosper Munatsi, who was here in the ecumenical centre last week, has not let go
He returned to Zimbabwe on Thursday last week where he continues to lead the Student Christian Movement – encouraging others also to hold onto hope.

It is not easy to hold on to hope
It’s such a fragile, vulnerable thing

You may think that your enemies are more numerous than the hairs on your head
This sense of being encircled may make you give up
Take you down to the pit of despair

But actually God will care for and uphold you,
And the Gospel promise is that this is an intimate care
which knows you are of vastly more value even than lowly sparrows
and which knows the number of hairs on our heads.

Prosper’s decision not to remain silent but simply to continue forwards in hope
spoke deeply to me over the past week of the spirituality of resistance we mention so often in many of our meetings.
His hope and the hope of so many others around the world is based on the firm conviction that each and every human being is precious, counted and cared for by a loving God.

It was this same hope and conviction that inspired Bishop Federico Pagura.
Even at the height of military dictatorship in Argentina he held on to hope and the belief in human dignity and a God who loves and cares for each of us with deep compassion

Although I don’t speak Spanish his wonderful hymn Tenemos esperanza speaks to me deeply of what a Christian spirituality of resistance should be
With its glorious tango rhythm full of energy, speed and also discipline
A pas de deux for and of the people
Deeply rooted in the values of the gospel,
rooted too in the current and future struggles of the people where they and we are now.

As we give thanks for the overcoming of the military dictatorships in so many Latin American countries
We recognize too that it took time, it was hard
– people disappeared and died and are grieved for to this day.
That time also speaks to us of resistance and of holding on to hope.

In Andre Jordan’s childish picture on our service sheets this morning
We can see how hope is fragile
If we let go it will blow away and be a distant memory up in the clouds
The image shows how hope needs to be held onto at ground level
Jordan knows about this in a profoundly personal way.
He draws to overcome, to some extent, very deep and repeated attacks of depression.

Hope needs to be rooted, held on to
in each of our many cultures,
and in our own lives

This is how a long distance spirituality of resistance can begin to take shape in our lives, in our churches, in our world.

Hold on to hope.

Tenemos Esperanza!

Copyright (c) WCC/Jane Stranz