Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vive la Musica!

Today was a day for singing! It began at the Center for Interreligious Studies where we met with students, faculty and school administrators. We introduced ourselves and then passed the peace of Christ with each other as we sang, “How beautiful are the feet of those who share good news! Peace, peace--that is good news!” The theological school has teachers from 30 faith traditions and 800 students representing over 90 denominations. Our missionary, Laura Jean, teaches there. In return for her services, the school gives scholarships to students from Mision Cristiana. For thirty years, the school has not only trained ministers on their beautiful campus, they have taken the school into the countryside. Concerned about issues such as hunger, domestic violence and the pollution of the earth, they have conducted Popular Education classes for about 500 families in rural communities. The classes combine scripture study with practical teaching designed for those who have not had a lot of formal education.
It was those campesinos Carlos Mejia Godoy had in mind when he wrote the songs we sang on the bus. They are songs about struggle and liberation. “You are a God of the Poor Ones” we sang. They are songs about people who see a need in their community and take action. Quincho Barrilete was one of those people Carlos remembers from his childhood. Quincho worked selling sandwiches to commuters so his brothers and sisters could go to school. “He was a small child who was a hero of my city,” we sang.
In the afternoon, we visited First Church (where I preached last night.) They had taken down the chairs and now the sanctuary served as a school for 182 children. When we arrived, the children were singing a song about colors, each child taking a turn at leading. The school tries to address the educational, physical, spiritual and social-emotional needs of the children they serve. Nine volunteers from the congregation teach the students.
At the end of the day, we arrived back at the mission office for dinner. To bless our meal we sang (to the tune of “For Health and Strength”), “Por estas prevas de tu amor, tenemos gracias hoy.“ For these fruits of your love, we give you thanks today. Thanks be to God for the many fruits of God’s love shown through the ministry of Mision Cristiana.
There is a saying here, “You may crush my guitar, but you can’t take away my song.” These Nicaraguans who lost 50,000 citizens in the civil war that took place during the 1970s, who suffered under a US Embargo, who continue to battle poverty and unemployment are still singing! They are finding ways to make their voice heard, to share the good news of Jesus Christ in this time and in this place.
Hasta la Vista,
Ruth Fletcher

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