Monday, June 22, 2009

Threatened by Resurrection

One: During the 1980s, refugees fleeing the terror created in their own countries by United States foreign and trade policies, came across both the Mexican border and the United States border seeking sanctuary. Guatemalan poet, Julia Esquivel, recognizing the terror, torture, and death in her own country, wrote a poem conveying her faith in a God who brings resurrection over and against terror, torture, and death.

Two: That poem remembered the sacred story of John the Baptist who threatened King Herod with his resurrection, the sacred story of Jesus of Nazareth who threatened Caesar and his Empire with his resurrection, the sacred story of Oscar Romero who threatened the rulers of his age with his resurrection, and the Guatemalan people who threatened the rulers of their age with their resurrection.

One: Resurrection reminds the powers and principalities that though they may have terrorized, tortured, and killed the prophets, God is still at work, still speaking, living while dying.

Two: The following litany is an adaptation of Julia Esquivel’s poem, “Threatened with Resurrection” recognizing that United States foreign and trade policies have again created a crisis leading to people leaving home to cross an ever-more dangerous border.

It isn't the noise from the gangs in the streets
that keeps us from resting, my friend,
nor is it the crying of the children in Postville,
their fathers detained in some obscure prison,
nor is it the tumult of those who pass by
in a hurry on their way to the border.

There is something here within us
Which doesn't let us sleep, which doesn't let us rest,
Which doesn't stop pounding deep inside,
It is the silent, warm weeping of Indian women without their husbands,
It is the sad gaze of the children
Fixed there beyond memory,
In the very pupil of our eyes
Which during sleep, though closed, keep watch
With each contraction of the heart
In every wakening...

What keeps us from sleeping
Is that they have threatened us with resurrection!

Because at each nightfall,
Though exhausted from the endless inventory
Of people who have lost their livelihood because of NAFTA,

Of people who have lost their lives in the Sonoran desert,

Of people who have lost their lives locked in a truck trailer in Texas,

Of people separated from their families in a place with unfamiliar terrain, climate, and food,

Of people terrorized by the Mexican or United States police,

Of people in fear of another ICE raid in Laurel, Mississippi, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Postville, Iowa, or Bellingham, Washington,

Of people detained in a who-knows-where U.S. prison.

Yet we continue to love life,
And do not accept their death!

Because we have felt their inert bodies
and their souls penetrated ours doubly fortified.
Because in this marathon of Hope,
there are always others to relieve us
in bearing the courage necessary
to arrive at the goal which lies beyond death.

They have threatened us with Resurrection!

Because they are more alive than ever before,
Because they transform our agonies,
And fertilize our struggle,
Because they pick us up when we fall,
and gird us like giants
before the fear of those demented drug cartels.

They have threatened us with Resurrection

because they do not know life (poor things!)

This is the whirlwind which does not let us sleep
the reason why asleep, we keep watch,
and awake, we dream.

No, it's not the gunfire from the gangs in the street,
nor the shouts from the drug cartels along the border,
nor the headlines about leprosy and swine flu.
It is the internal cyclone of a kaleidoscopic struggle
which will heal the wound of the widow, the orphan, and the migrant
forced off a Mexican farm, fallen in the Sonoran desert, forgotten in a U.S. prison.
It is the earthquake soon to come that will shake the world
and put everything in its place . . .

Accompany us then on this vigil
And you will know what it is to dream!
You will then know how marvelous it is
To live threatened with resurrection!
To dream awake,
To keep watch asleep
To live while dying
And to already know oneself resurrected!

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