Advent Devotion: Hoping, in Sighs and Groans
Monday, December 11, 2017
Over the past ten years in Honduras, Berta Cáceres successfully organized her indigenous Lenca people’s community against a World Bank and private-business-funded dam project, which had been implemented with little or no input from local inhabitants of the Guadalcarque River. In 2015, she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, as the dam project was stalled, and investors fled. In 2016, Cáceres was shot to death in her home. Eight men have been arrested, but the murderers have not been brought to justice. Many murderers in Honduras are not.
I imagine that Berta’s heart cries out. But with joy? With hope? Hope for what? She hopes for what she never will see.
The violence menaces still. Honduras is among the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, for environmental and political activists, for community organizers, for women. Dozens of activists are killed each year, as are hundreds of women, with impunity. In three weeks leading up to the national election on November 26, at least four political activists, from various parties, were attacked and killed. At least one protester, a 19-year-old woman, has been killed in the weeks since the election.
I work for the church, a U.S. Presbyterian mission co-worker, partnering with the Honduran Presbyterian church. I do not know what I ought to pray for. Is it enough, surrounded by such menace, to say that we care for our congregants’ souls, and we leave “politics” out on the church steps?
As She—Mary, Berta, Spirit—intercedes for us, with sighs too deep for words, we do not know what we ought to pray for. We hope against hope, though we die. The world is about to turn, the hymn says. Until the world turns, creation groans, the earth groans, our very bodies groan, and the body of Christ groans for the redemption that has been promised today, not tomorrow, not after death, but now, in the turning of the world.
Rev. Dori Kay Hjalmarson
PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker, serving in Honduras
SFTS MDiv 2015