The other day in church at SCV, the first Sunday being back after our trip to Colombia, Peter Fitch talked about scripture and speech.
James 3:1-12 “Taming the Tongue”
Proverbs 10:19 Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
but the prudent hold their tongues
As Peter continued his talk about scripture and speech I could not help but think about all the stories I had heard in Colombia. The people whose lives are being destroyed because of economic international interests, Canadian mining companies and armed groups who continue to displace and massacre rural communities throughout Colombia. I remember what it felt like to hear the people’s stories of suffering, a sort of suffering that I will truly never really know.
However, although their stories were of the suffering that had been afflicted on them I could not turn away from the fact that the grace of God was in every story. There was more faith in God than I will ever know, because in many situations God is all these people have to turn to. James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. I believe that these people, the people who shared their stories are alive because of their faith in God. The hope they hold onto even in the midst of the continued conflicts and tensions. In Walter Wink’s newest book, “Just Jesus,” he writes: “Consequently, people who have difficulty believing in prayer, or spiritual healing, or the life or the spirit, or God, are, in my experience suffering far more from a worldview problem than a theological problem” (pg.51). I can not help but agree with Walter. Sometimes I wonder where God is in North America, but then I don’t have to rely on God; I already have everything… (sarcastically said).
Yet Romans 3, as Peter shared, demonstrates that people need saving from God. All people need saving from God.–The ones who suffer, and the ones who inflict suffering. Other scriptures that Peter highlighted in relation to scripture and speech:
Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
I couldn’t help but think about what Peter was saying in relation to everything I had learned about in Colombia. The word Prophesy in relation to scripture and speech is about speaking on behalf of another, just as the disciples did for Jesus. It was here that I thought: Prophesy as Advocacy.
Over the last few years here at SSU, traveling and studying around the world I believe that part of my duty as a Christian and someone who has become more educated on global issues, is to retell and share the stories that I have heard. To be an advocate for the people whose voice often goes unheard. The 3 most important things we were told, as Canadians, that we can do for advocacy are:
doing an inventory of the CAD mining companies that are present in Colombia, many of them facilitate guerrilla groups.
history of those who have suffered, we often become very comfortable in the present moment and forget about the suffering.
engaging in dialogue with refugees who have come to Canada, help them influence our Nation, let their stories be heard.
My blog about my time in Colombia is not a reflection of what I experienced, because I do not know if words can express what I felt at times. People often ask me what my favourite places are, they ask me about the beautiful scenery of the places I have been to. But, how can I truly answer that?
Every place holds a beauty of their own if you are willing to open your eyes and see, but it is not just to see the beauty through your own eyes but, to see the beauty of each place through the eyes of the people who call it home. The people are the ones who make each place I travel to so beautifully unique, it was what makes every place I visit a deep and enriching experience.
My blog, therefore, is Prophesy as Advocacy. To speak on behalf of those whose suffering is forgotten. For the poor who truly know the grace of God. I write this post as a reminder, as an advocator, for the individuals and communities who, despite their suffering, continue to have hope for the peace in the future of their country.
God is in the Poor
by Nicole Leger 2014
In the end we will all go home
We will forget the faces of those who have suffered,
Those who have been displaced and
We will forget what we saw when we looked into their eyes.
We will go back to a life where we allow an emptiness to be filled with false images,
Relying on a system, which only seeks capital gain.
The people will be forgotten because we are caught up in a world, which uses violence to gain progress; and it is the poor who suffer more while the rest of the world remains blind.
Where is God in all of this?
God is not in the corporations, the mining companies, or the armed groups…
God is in the poor.
The poor who remain to have hope and those whose faith calls out to the land.
God is in each of us, but we must become the poor to truly know who He is and what He is capable of.