Yesterday a funeral was held at our church. A daughter of the congregation was killed in a tragic accident as she was traveling home for Christmas. Her mom, her dad, her sister, her brothers, her boyfriend, her friends, her Sunday School teachers...all are crying, all are grieving. And even though our sisters and brothers in El Salvador do not know this daughter of God personally, they are grieving too, because as family in Christ we are connected in prayer and joy and sadness.
As messages of Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas passed between us, so did requests for prayer and words of comfort.
... my eyes turned toward the huge blue sky and the thoughts that came to mind were these: God is the creator of life, the creator of all that exists. In life at all times in some places it is night and in other places it is day, in some places new creatures are born and in other places other creatures die, in some places some people laugh and in other places other people cry. And God is always there and the blue color of the sky is always there, and God's time is always - it is in the coming of the Holy Spirit of Pentecost; it is the sacrifice and love of Jesus in the time before Easter; it is the obedience and promise in Mary’s belly; it is the understanding, love and waiting of Joseph in Advent.
God is always there.
God's faithfulness imaged in the big blue sky . . . I am remembering Antonio. I am remembering Antonio's bandaged hand raised up against a huge blue sky. "Dale!" "Forward!" "Keep on keeping on!"
Antonio's trust in God and ability to reach for the sky despite the clouds of his illness have served as a reminder to many that God is faithful, that God's time is God's time, and that God intended for us to help each other to keep on keeping on.
Author's note: The thoughts about the blue sky and God's presence were shared by Pastor Santiago. The photo of Antonio was taken just after he had raised his hand in the air. This gesture, with the word "dale," is a gesture of solidarity, of moving forward together, of defiance, of "let's go!" and is used during the singing of "El Sombrero Azul." The song refers to the big blue sky of El Salvador like a big blue sombrero.