The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Matthew 22:37-38: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
We began Lent season on Ash Wednesday; all of the congregations in ILAG burned the "Ramos" (the palm Sunday's flowers) from the year before, to get the ashes for this year's Ash Wednesday. We have worship service on Ash Wednesday. In this worship service we begin with a set of prayers to keep praying during Lent. 40 days of meditation, and prayers.
On Ash Wednesday, we make the commitment of prayer and meditate for the next 40 days, not just to remember Jesus Christ's ultimate sacrifice but also to value it, and be part of his gifts of Salvation and hope, given to all of us.
During the 40 days after Ash Wednesday, ILAG´s congregations embrace the task of practicing loving each other, being more aware or conscious about our actions, and getting closer to someone who we wouldn't do in other circumstances.
We all know it is not an easy task to accomplish, but we pray, and try to accept us, and by doing it, we are more open to be in close relationship to others.
In Guatemala, Holy Week is a holiday; no schools are open, nobody is working, we spend a lot of time in Church. Guatemala is a culture where we learn more from representations, pictures, and oral tellings; our traditions are based in this and we enjoy it. And so, during Holy Week, there are processions, worshiping, praying, and making floral murals on the streets where the processions are going to walk on. We make platforms where we have different messages and images of the Passion of Jesus Christ. We represent all of the steps Jesus Christ took before being crucified and resurrected.
We trust we are saved, we trust we have hope in Christ; we know we are connected with you through Jesus Christ.
With Easter blessings,
The Rev. Karen Castillo
President, Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala