Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Romero. . .

Some more Romero.
In our preaching to rich and poor, it is not that we pander to the sins of the poor and ignore the virtues of the rich. Both have sins and both need conversion. But the poor, in their condition of need, are disposed to conversion. They are more conscious of their need of God.

All of us, if we really want to know the meaning of conversion and of faith and confidence in another, must become poor, or at least make the cause of the poor our own inner motivation. That is when one begins to experience faith and conversion: when one has the heart of the poor, when one knows that financial capital, political influence, and power are worthless, and that without God we are nothing.

To feel that need of God is faith and conversion.
From The Violence of Love by Oscar Romero

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am a worker

I started reading Oscar Romero's The Violence of Love a few years back. Basically it is a collection of his sermons that he spoke towards the end of his life, just before his assassination in 1980. From 1977 (the year I was born) until March 24th, 1980, Romero preached a message of love. A message that spoke out against the torture and murder that was going on against his Salvadorian people. In the midst of this violence Romero asked his congregation and those listening in on radio broadcasts to forgive their enemies, turn their cheek and embrace their oppressors. The title to the book came from the following passage about loving our enemies:

The violence we preach is not
the violence of the sword,
the violence of hatred.
It is the violence of love,
of brotherhood,
the violence that wills to beat weapons
into sickles for work.

(Oscar Romero, November 27, 1977)

The following was actually not written by Romero, but was dedicated to him after his assassination. Still, it is very powerful and spoke to some of the things I have struggled with when trying to figure out what exactly it means to be a believer who has a heavy heart for the least of these. When God gives us a glimpse of His Kingdom it is both overwhelming and extremely comforting - we can't do it all, but we can do some things. "We are workers, not master builders."


It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another 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 include everything.

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

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

New Video

Check out the new Mustard Seed Ministries video I put together for a speaking opportunity next week.

Mustard Seed Ministries from Andy Coulombe on Vimeo.