Today is the 10-year anniversary of a terrible quake which shook the earth under El Salvador. Roads were broken. Hillsides were broken. Houses were broken. Families were broken.
In the aftermath of the quakes, a seasoned pastor gathered up broken pieces of wood. He took them to his workshop, and fashioned them into a handful of crosses - simple wood crosses, each standing about eight inches tall, stained dark brown and well varnished. Simple crosses, created as symbols of resurrection from earthquakes, from brokenness, from death.
Our sister church pastor presented one of these crosses, made by his dad, to our church as gift. It sometimes sits on the altar, sometimes in the chapel, as a reminder of our partnership. Most people who see this symbol of partnership and resurrection probably do not know of its origin in the rubble of an earthquake.
Another of these crosses rests in special place in my home. Today, I took it into my hands and was reminded of the events ten years ago, of the lives lost, of the homes destroyed, of the prayers offered, of the lives saved, of the homes rebuilt, of the prayers answered.
I looked back over some of the photos from ten years ago - not photos from the earthquake, but photos taken during the eleven months that followed - photos of a four-year old boy from our sister church who came to the US for a heart procedure, photos of Salvadoran pastors participating in our synod assembly, photos of the ordination of a Salvadoran pastor serving as a missionary in our city, and photos of our family celebrating Christmas with families El Salvador. It was the year of the earthquakes and tragedies, and it was also a year of healing, laughter, sharing, celebration and resurrection.