Since our Christian Unity & Interreligious Concerns team met for the first time this past year, Oscar Romero has been on my mind. We knew the 40th anniversary of his martyrdom was just over the horizon, and we wanted to find ways to celebrate his witness in a way that could strengthen awareness for ecumenical relationships and the gifts of this Salvadoran bishop.
One of the traits that always marks the stories of the saints is the way that their lives, especially their deaths, share in the Passion of Jesus. Today is Maundy Thursday, the day when the church relives Jesus telling his servants that they are now his friends, friends who must love one another as he has loved them through service.
As we sit tonight around our tables, sharing meals via ZOOM or Skype, we are invited to think about love. Where we have experienced love this week, where we failed to be loving this week, when we have felt loved this past week.
We are invited to think about the real, tangible, touchable embodiments of Jesus’ final commandment, and I invite us to think of the saints who have embodied that love even to the point of death. I invite us to think of St Oscar Romero, who sees the glory of God revealed in the faces of our poor siblings; St Romero, who finds the courage to preach to both persecuted and persecutor alike, with grace and hope; St Romero, whose very life is a seed that fell into the earth and died so that the church in El Salvador and throughout the world might discover more fully how to love by stripping away all the violence, greed, ambition, and pride that keep us from being who Jesus calls us to be.
As we hear Jesus tell us tonight, “Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them,” may we remember the life of this saint who shows us the way toward self-giving, self-emptying, soul-saving love.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
You have put in history’s womb
the beginning of a new world.
As we who go forth from this Holy Thursday know
we have proclaimed the death that saved the world
and proclaim the resurrection of your Son,
who lives as hope,
so that all the universe of heaven and earth
may join together,
all things in heaven and on earth
may come together in Christ.
So we pray, gracious loving God. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To become aware this week:
Discover ministries already in place and find churches/organizations already serving the Hispanic community.
To cultivate growth this week:
Collaborate with a local immigrant organization to host a community event that offers learning, exposure, and growth in cultural competencies.
To advocate this week:
Mobilize neighboring congregations to respond to the harsh actions seen in our communities.
Cameron Merrill is an elder in the North Carolina Conference currently serving Hillsborough United Methodist Church.