Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Three Hard Words that Speak to the World

Three “hard” thoughts today from Oscar Romero, the Catholic Priest killed in El Salvador in 1980 for challenging injustices with the concrete counter-claims of the Kingdom of God, three "hard" thoughts that I think capture something of what it means for The Salvation Army to be a global movement that adds real value to our tired world:

“It is very easy to be servants of the word without disturbing the world: a very spiritualized word, a word without any commitment to history, a word that can sound in any part of the world because it belongs to no part of the world. A word like that creates no problems, starts no conflicts.
What starts conflicts and persecutions, what marks the genuine church, is the word that, burning like the word of the prophets, proclaims and accuses: proclaims to the people God’s wonders to be believed and venerated, and accuses of sin those who oppose God’s reign, so that they may tear that sin out of their hearts, out of their societies, out of their laws - out of the st
ructures that oppress, that imprison, that violate the rights of God and of humanity. This is the hard service of the word.”

"The prophetic mission is a duty of God's people. So when I am told in a somewhat mocking tone that I think I am a prophet, I reply: 'God be praised! You ought to be one too.' For every Christian, all God's people, every family, must develop a prophetic awareness, convey an awareness of God's mission in the world, bring it a divine presence that makes demands and rejections."

"Those who have listened to me in church on Sundays
with sincerity
without prejudices
without hatred
without ill will
without intending to defend indefensible interests,
those who have listened to me cannot say
I am giving political or subversive sermons.
All that is simply slander.
You are listening to me at this moment,
and I am saying what I have always said.
What I want to say (from) the cathedral pulpit
is what the church is,
and in the name of the church
I want to support what is good,
applaud it,
encourage it,
console the victims of atrocities, of injustices
and with courage
disclose the atrocities,
the tortures,
the disappearance of prisoners,
the social injustice.
This is not engaging in politics;
this is building up the church
and carrying out the church's duty
as imposed by the church's identity.
My conscience is undisturbed,
and I call on all of you:
Let us build up the true church!"
Homilies cited in Oscar Romero, 2003, The Violence of Love.

The Word incarnate: post what these "hard words" would feel/look like in your neighbourhood? post what you think these "hard words" would look like internationally? post how you think these "hard words" could help frame the glopal (see earlier post on "The Reach of Salvation") face of The Salvation Army and the part it has to play in meeting the Eight Milennium Development Goals.
Share some stories.

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