BLOG09 6JAN2011

On Thursday January 6, 2011, at 10 PM, Curtis Wait Blogged:

The three kings have arrived!  The Mexican children have received their gifts and had their fiesta.  Today Ellen preached at the celebration eucharist and then it was off to art class for the teens with Ellen and a party with cake and hot chocolate for the little kids.  Below is Ellen's sermon:


My name is Ellen O’Grady.  I am an artist.  For seven years I lived and worked in Bethlehem in a neighborhood  similar to La Laguna.   Often I would pass by  the Church of the Nativity, which is located at the place Jesus was born and where the wise men travelled to bring their gifts. 

This time of year in Bethlehem is cold and rainy, occasionally it snows.  It is the worst time of year for a journey.  I imagine the three kings were very uncomfortable travelling the far distance.  I imagine the inns were full and because they lacked shelter, the kings travelled all through the night, dozing occasionally on their camels.   I imagine the kings and the people travelling with them often got frustrated, even despairing. I imagine they heard voices in their head, saying the journey was a mistake.

But they kept going.   And going.  And finally they came to the manger.  And when they got off their camels and came closer to see  baby Jesus, all the agony of their trip slipped away. And the world would never be the same.

Any worthwhile journey brings with it fears and doubts, AND moments of human connection and creation which could not happen without the journey.  Whether it is a journey that involves travelling a far distance, like Goldi coming to Veracruz from Ecuador to start Amiguitos;  or  a journey that involves doing something completely new, like Omar  taking culinary classes. 

On every significant journey I’ve been on there have been voices in my head telling me that I might be making  a mistake.  It was true during the years that I worked in Bethlehem. And it is true of my short time in Veracruz.  Moments when the voices in my head said, that I might be making a mistake; you do not speak the language, you are not going to be able to connect with people without speaking Spanish.

But then came the moments when all those doubts slipped away.   For example when I was sitting drawing a person here in Veracruz.   It does not matter that we speak different languages, when I sit to draw you, any one of you, the light of God shines through and it does not matter that I am in Mexico because in that moment, I am home in the presence of God, in the presence of love.    Or a moment like yesterday, when the chamacos were drawing their portraits of themselves.  Every one of them was bent over their canvases with great focus.  It did not matter that we come from different cultures, this creation is of God.  Creativity binds us together, it  creates a holy space.

You are a very creative people.  The way you build your homes, the way you respond to the destruction of a hurricane. Ana’s hats.   Melanie’s sandals.  The bread we’re going to eat at Eucharist and at the 3 kings celebration.  Bread made by the children’s hands. The building you are  building for your center, which you are creating with YOUR hands.   As the three kings rejoiced when seeing God’s creation after their long journey; I rejoice here, with you, in the midst of all of your creativity.  I rejoice in  all of God’s creation through your hands,  your hearts, your voices and your minds.  I rejoice in you.   Gracias.