“Christ has no body now on earth but ours*,
No hands but ours;
No feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which the compassion
Of Christ is to look out on a hurting world.
Ours are the feet with which He is to go about
Ours are the hands with which He is to bless now.”
–Attributed to Saint Theresa of Avila
(*instead of ‘yours’)
OUTSIDE my apartment in Chapinero, Bogotá, parked a covered push cart. Every morning I see a man coming out from the cart, and in the evening, he seeks refuge in his indecent mobile house.
I was in an international youth conference in Asia and was part of the service team. During game preparation, while we went over each rule, the game master suddenly said, “For the Around the World, you may put all countries except the Philippines,” and blurted a huge laugh. The rest of the team laughed along, but not me. I was the only Filipino in the group and since it was our first meeting, they thought I was Singaporean or Malaysian. I was so mad that I made a loud cough and walked out.
In a mission trip in another country, I met Maria (not her real name). Maria is a Christian in a closed-country, dominated by non-Christian groups. Maria and her husband are outcasts from their village. They live in a shanty, no electricity, no access to clean water. They can’t ask for help from their village or from the village chief because they’re Christians. Maria, whose ankles were fractured during the civil war, has to walk one kilometer to fetch water from the river, which is toxic, for their consumption and daily use. Her husband met an accident at work after a tank of gas ran him over and his company won’t take responsibility.
Bryan (not his real name) is now an orphan after a landslide destroyed his town in 10 minutes. He just went to school in a neighboring town when a portion of the mountain fell over the entire place. Due to illegal logging and mining, the once prosperous, rice-producing town in the south, collapsed, now covered with mud and land. Its highway has turned into a lake. The three-storey elementary school has become a hill. The town was horrifyingly erased from the map.
In November 2009, the Philippines was tagged as the most dangerous country for journalists after 18 journalists and 42 civilians died in a “single worst mass killing in history.” Until now, the accused political family (dynasty) is still in trial. Alleged political power and dynasty is the reason for the killing, threatening the person running against the family, who has been in power for several terms. (CNN Online; November 26, 2009)
When I learned that I will be coming to Colombia, my family and friends asked, “Are you sure you’re going there? But there’s ongoing conflict between the rebel groups and the government plus the issues of drugs and cartels.”
Poverty, discrimination, calamity, violence, inequality, slavery, war, etc. are some of the things we see every day. Maybe not all at once but somehow, we were and are also affected by the norms of this world, which was definitely far from what God has envisioned.
I couldn’t even imagine God’s hurts when He sees all these things happening. I mean, He sent prophets to ask people to repent and to turn back to Him, yet human greed and evil doings continue exist. My human-es and limited experience could not comprehend the bigger need and hurt that people face. But God knows and sees them, and it hurts Him…
A missionary called Jesus
In the last reflection about Jesus as Journalist, I wrote, “For so many years, the Law of Moses has been interpreted differently. Instead of uplifting the weak, the sick, and the poor, it has become a tool of oppression and imprisonment. Jesus’ coming was to correct this and to bring liberty to the believers. He was the Word (Message) in physical form. Jesus did not only proclaim the Good News through His preaching but ‘showed’ it in His life!”
Dios no envió a su Hijo al mundo para condenar al mundo, sino para que el mundo sea salvo por él. –Juan 3:17
The Old Testament shows the roller-coaster relationship between God and the chosen people; God’s love to His children amidst their disobedience to Him. He had sent prophets to remind the nation of their Living God, yet they were never consistently faithful. Finally, because of His unconditional love to all, God the Father sent His only Son to “seek and save the lost.” (Lucas 19:10) He sent His own as the second Adam, as a missionary.
As a missionary Jesus Christ became poor, ate with the sinners, built communities, healed the sick, identified with the outcasts, etc. Jesus saw the need, He responded them and even exceeded human understanding. He did not only perform miracles to show He is God but to share His life, even to the point of dying on the cross. Jesus went from one place to another to share God’s kingdom and to build relationships with people, letting them know that God is within their reach.
In flesh, Jesus Christ was a bearer of peace and justice. He saw and experienced discrimination, slavery, different forms of injustices. In fact, after His first ministry in Galilee, Jesus went back to His hometown but He was rejected by the same people He grew up with, questioning His authority because He was “a carpenter’s son” and not like the “righteous” Pharisees. (Lucas 4:16-30)
Jesus’ ministry did not stop on the cross. As Jesus was ascending after His resurrection, on the mountain, He sent forth the disciples with the Holy Spirit,
Acercándose Jesús, les dijo: “Toda autoridad Me ha sido dada en el cielo y en la tierra. Vayan, pues, y hagan discípulos de[b] todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, enseñándoles a guardar todo lo que les he mandado; y ¡recuerden (he aquí)! Yo estoy con ustedes todos los días, hasta el fin del mundo.” –Mateo 28:18-20
Jesus, missionary to Colombia (part 1)
The same Holy Spirit that was given to His disciples 2,000 years ago is also given to all who follows Him not by words but by heart, mind, and spirit. The call to “go” is still real today—and it is true to my life.
Last time, I mentioned about how “niche started” and expounded that we are created according to His image; from the image to job descriptions—stewards. Now, let’s reflect on Jesus as a missionary to Colombia.
“If Jesus is a missionary to Colombia, who would He be? What would He do?…” And several more questions popped in my head as I try to see God as a missionary here.
Then a light bulb hit me (‘aha’ moment)! I remember the words of Saint Theresa of Avila (see above). She is known for her passionate and compassionate work among the people, where she is serving. She said that we are God’s hands and feet of today. We are the Jesus of today!
“If Jesus is a missionary to Colombia, who would He be?”
– He would be each missionary that came before, serving now, and will come
“What would He do?”
– He/she loves unconditionally, condemns no one, be a living testimony
– He/she seeks justice, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God (Micah 6:8)
Until all are fed we cry out
Until all on earth have bread
Like the One who loves us each and every one
We serve until all are fed.
-excerpt, Until All are Fed by Tommy Brown & Bryan F. McFarland
(PART 2 in next quarterly issue as published in Encuentro de CEPALC- http://www.cepalc.com)