Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Immigrants' Creed

I believe in Almighty God, who guided the people in exile and in exodus, the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon, the god of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean, who was born away from his people and his home, who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger, and returning to his own country suffered the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power, who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured, accused and condemned to death unjustly. But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead, not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal immigrant from God's kingdom among us, who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.

I believe that the church is the secure home for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it, who speak the same language and have the same purpose.

I believe that the Communion of the Saints begins when we accept the diversity of the saints.

I believe in the forgiveness, which makes us all equal, and in the reconciliation, which identifies us more than does race, language or nationality.

I believe that in the Resurrection God will unite us as one people in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in Life Eternal in which no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God's kingdom, which will never end.

Rev. Jose Luis Casal- General Missioner- Trs Rios Presbytery. PC (USA)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Prophets Of A Future Not Our Own (A Poem)

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 an 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.

Oscar Romero

Profetas de Un Futuro que No es Nuestro (Un Poema)

De vez en cuando, nos ayuda dar un paso atrás y contemplar el vasto panorama.
El Reino no solamente está más allá de nuestros esfuerzos, sino que trasciende nuestra visión.
Cumplimos en nuestra vida solamente una ínfima fracción
de la magnífica empresa que es la obra de Dios.
Nada de lo que hacemos es completo, lo cual es otra forma de decir
que el Reino siempre nos trasciende.
Ninguna declaración expresa todo lo que puede ser dicho.
Ninguna oración expresa totalmente nuestra Fe.
Ninguna confesión deviene en perfección.
Ningún programa lleva a cabo la misión de Cristo.
Ninguna meta o serie de objetivos incluye la totalidad.
Eso es lo que proponemos.
Plantamos las semillas que algún día brotarán.
Regamos las semillas que ya han sido plantadas,
sabiendo que contienen una promesa futura.
Echamos los cimientos que necesitarán posterior desarrollo.
Proveemos la levadura que produce efectos más allá de nuestras aptitudes.
No podemos hacer todo,
y al darnos cuenta de ello nos sentimos liberados.
Eso nos permite hacer algo y hacerlo muy bien.
Será incompleto pero es un comienzo,
un paso a lo largo del camino,
y una oportunidad para que la gracia del Señor aparezca y haga el resto.
Quizá nunca veremos los resultados finales.
Pero ahí está la diferencia entre el maestro de obras y el albañil.
Somos albañiles, no maestros de obra, ministros, pero no Mesías.
Somos los profetas de un futuro que no es el nuestro.

Oscar Romero

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Recent visit to Saddleback Church/ Visita a la Iglesia Saddleback

When God Comes Down

The narrative of the tower of Babel (Gen. 11) is often understood as the judgment of God over a proud human project: reaching the heavens through building up a tower. In order to stop that attempt God would scatter the people and confound their language. A closer look poses some deeper questions: In the Bible, more often than not, being scattered is a blessing rather than a curse. Such is the case of the children of Noah that after the flood and the subsequent covenant that God makes with them are scattered and re-populate the earth giving birth to different ethnicities and tongues (see Gen. 10:4, 20,31 and 32)

However, the inhabitants of the Babel are afraid of being scattered. They take refuge in their monolithic identity. Their efforts are directed toward only one city, one tower, one language. In such efforts the interaction with what is different disappears before the preponderance of what is familiar. What is foreign and different becomes undesirable.

Considering that the energy with which we can set ourselves to try to erect the towers of our group identity at the peril of all others, we can ask ourselves: Could it be that being scattered, more than being a curse would be God’s blessed way of liberating us from becoming self enclosed to the extent of turning into a rigid “insider’s club”. God “went down” and intervened in favor of diversity. It was only after the inhabitants were prevented from building a colossal “city” that they were able to begin building different and distinct “cities” in places where they were once again scattered.

The same type of openness and sending occurred in the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5-12). God “comes down” upon those that were gathered in the upper room and they go out to speak in a way that others could understand them. With that initial impulse the apostles were set in a trajectory toward “the ends of the earth”. It would be only as they ventured into the foreign lands of the Mediterranean, Greece and Rome -as they heard their strange accents and observed their unfamiliar ways of living- that they became “good news”.

The openness that Spirit carves into the heart of the community of faith prevents it from being stuck in a set conception of God, itself and those around it. The Spirit is the only impulse that can turn our often self serving institutions into communities that live in the risky reality of being sent to transform and being transformed as they go. As soon as a society, organization or church begins using all its energies to hang on to a crystallized identity, vocabulary or system of thought, it begins to die. Before God comes down our rootedness becomes confinement, our apotheosis degenerates into sclerosis. When God comes down the apparent weakness of being scattered becomes our true strength. My confidence is that the living presence of the Spirit promised by Jesus to his Church will continue to give us the courage to be the people of God scattered beyond our walls and among the often unfamiliar realities and territories of today’s society.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Nieve Marzo 06 026

Nieve Marzo 06 026
Originally uploaded by juanjsarmiento.
Ayer cayo nieve el Sur de California. Que cosa tan rara!

Friday, January 06, 2006

At the Bellagio- Maricela's favorite in Vegas

At the Bellagio
Originally uploaded by juanjsarmiento.
En el Hotel Bellagio. El favorito de Maricela en Las Vegas