“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psalms 42:11,43:5.
The Psalmist states this verse twice.
Recently our Cabinet and Residency in Ordained Ministry (RIOM) group made a visit to McAllen, Texas, where we had an opportunity to visit several ministries that work with immigrants in the area. Willie Berman, a missionary, who was delightful and humorous, was our guide. Willie drove us to the various mission sites in his old white Dodge van. While traveling to one of the mission sites, we passed a group of men standing against a building and Willie explained, “they are waiting to be sent back to their homes somewhere in Central America.”
I noticed a familiar look and countenance that I had witnessed in others, while on a mission trip in a village outside of Montero, Bolivia. It was during a worship experience at the school that we were working on, that I noticed four elderly Bolivian women standing against the school wall looking at our team as we sang; they were not singing. It was a look of emptiness and there was no emotion in their eyes. I was reminded of them through the eyes of these young men as they watched us drive by. It was a look and countenance that spoke volumes.
Cicero (106-43BC) is quoted as saying, “the face is a picture of the mind and the eyes are its interpreter.” It is believed that the phrase “the eyes are the window of the soul” derived from this quote. As I meditated on this reflective moment, I couldn’t help but think of the Afro-American Spiritual – “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” For me, it was a look and countenance of hopelessness. I began to wonder what they saw from where they stood; further, what had they seen that robbed the sparkle of hope from their eyes?
Willie shared with us that they left their homes behind because they were looking for a better life in America and others left for fear of their lives because of the threat from the cartels. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters at the borders and for their families back home and for the families of the world as the threat of the Coronavirus has robbed the hope of many. May our prayer be that we all trust in a renewed hope in God and sing a familiar song with confidence, “He’s got the whole world in His Hands.”
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
To know you, Lord Jesus, is to know God.
You are the homily
that keeps explaining to us continually
that God is love,
that God is power,
that the Spirit of the Lord is upon you,
that you are the divine Lord
God’s presence among us. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To educate this week:
Try to find ways to host an English as Second Language class.
To cultivate growth this week:
Write letters to immigrants in detention.
To advocate this week:
Build a rapid response network within your congregation and community interest partners.
Kenneth Locklear is the district superintendent for the Gateway District.