Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There IS grace and beauty in bordertown, Mexico

I love the feeling of coming home. Everyone is so excited to see me, hear my stories, and share together.
I felt especially blessed this past Sunday morning, Sunday December 26th. A few weeks ago I'd told my church I would be in town for Christmas, and would love to share about my experience thus far as a YAV with PHPC; and so I was invited to do the children's sermon for the day after Christmas! Which- most of you know, I absolutely love interacting with children, so I couldn't have been more excited!
You can listen to the service from that day, December 26 here: http://podcastphpc.org/
The sermon and the music are both really good, so I highly recommend the whole sha-bang! I'm on there being introduced at about 46 minutes into it.

Elizabeth preached on Isaiah, 63:7-9

I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the LORD has done for us—
yes, the many good things
he has done for Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
8 He said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will be true to me”;
and so he became their Savior.
9 In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.

Here's the scripted version of what I said (more or less).

Yesterday, you celebrated Christmas, and probably received some neat presents from your friends and family.

I want to tell you about a gift of a different sort. This is a gift you can't touch, but you can feel. You can't see it, but you can witness it. You can't own it but you can share it.

(as an aside- one of the children goes "JESUS!" really animated-ly right here)

This gift is called grace. Currently, I'm serving as a YAV, and I volunteer at a place called BorderLinks. I've witnessed a lot of grace in my time along the US/Mexico border. A good amount of wht I do while on the border is interpreting peoples' stories from Spanish to English. I hear a lot of stories about people who have been lost for days in the desert- without food or drink, abandoned by their travel companions. For one reason or another, they find themselves dropped in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. And, there to greet them are Sister Lorena and Father Neeley- with a hot plate of food, a welcoming handshake, and a place for those weary travelers to rest their head and feel some sort of safety and solitude for just a brief, passing moment. A place where no-one will heckle them, put them in hand-cuffs, no coyotes to bother them. To me, these two, Sister Lorena and Father Neeley, embody grace. They never ask, "why were you deported," "why were you imprisoned," "where is your family?"
They simply give.
They give food, warmth, and welcome. They love unconditionally.
You heard Elizabeth read from Isaiah, "in their distress, he too was distressed. And the angel of his presence saved them."
Sister Lorena and Father Neeley are those angels of presence. They share their God given gift of graciousness with others. In Spanish, there's a word for a God given gift, "don."

What are some god given gifts, "dons", you have that you can use to show God's grace to another?

I believe that you can be a sign of god's grace to others, and you can use your "dons" to share His grace. You can be the "angel of presence" spoken about in Isaiah. Here's a better example of how. Look at your hands. Hold your hands up high. Pat your friend's back. Shake a neighbor's hand. Pull someone up.
Your hands can do all of that and more. Your hands, my hands, his hands, and their hands, are vessels to share God's grace to others.

Let us hold hands and pray together.


  1. i wish i could have been there to sit cross-legged with my pig-tails and listen to ms. steamy... :)