by Pastor Delle
October 20, 2018
This morning I managed to get away to take my weekly Pilates class and in sharing with the teacher and students, found great support for the migrant shelter. That’s the way it goes these days, Good News is so desperately needed that it helps fill a deep well of hope-less-ness and resounds with Good News in return. Body Quest Pilates will be gathering children’s clothes and tomatoes. Not only did I get my muscles toned, I got my heart filled back up!
I walked on to campus and saw that our dining room, children’s art space, volunteer reception, and guest registration were relocated to shaded space outside on this beautiful Tucson day. Children who had weathered the perilous journey and arrived at our church so exhausted were running around and laughing. Our guests play soccer and help with chores and relax as they sit outdoors, the first moments of true sanctuary/shelter sinking in. While no men came to this morning’s worship, our female guests came with their children in The daily reading was Ephesians 1: 19b-21:
You can tell this from the strength of God’s power at work in Jesus, the power used to raise Christ from the dead and to seat Christ in heaven at God’s right hand, far above every sovereignty, authority, power or dominion, and above any other name that can be named.
I asked them who exercised power in their lives and they named the government, immigration officials, robbers, and thieves. I asked them if they wanted to be more specific and several began to cry. No, one said, It hurts too much. I asked them if they got support from their husbands and they snorted, which I assumed meant that they did not. I was glad to talk with them alone because when men are present, only one speaks up. But when there are no men present, they began to share more openly.
I shared stories of Jesus’ encounters with the Samaritan and Canaanite woman, and shared a bit of my own story. I told them of the mother Liliana, who gave birth in the Arizona desert on Christmas Eve to baby Jesus, who, although was a term baby, weighed only four pounds. We talked about Mary being a single mother and losing her son to execution at the hands of the military and religious authorities. It was powerful to see that the women, leyendo con ojos, mente, y Corazon de mujer – reading with women’s eyes, mind, and hearts – found themselves in the gospel, possibly for the first time ever. Lupita told me after worship that her sponsor is a man she never met and she’s afraid that he will be a bad man and might hurt her and her child. She asked for a dollar so she could call me if her worst fears came true. I gave her $20 – a small gift but an enormous sum to her so she could call me if she needed me and get a ride to a shelter. Asi es. This is the way it is every day. Despair and hope in every breath.
Today I especially want to thank our coordinators, all who have volunteered many hours since we opened the shelter. Rick Small and Rev. Mike Lonegran are not Rincon members yet they have been here every day, especially Rick who has been my right hand person. (Alberto is my left!) Ginger Taylor is coordinator of volunteers. Beth Shelby is the kitchen and food coordinator. Shawn Shelby is the building and grounds person. Most of us have worked twelve hour days and yet grace and forgiveness abound. When we get a little crispy around the edges, we take a deep breath and move on to the next thing. We have volunteers coordinating transportation, food (please please arrive in time for food prep), medical needs, phone calls and travel arrangements, laundry, bodega (clothing), children’s corner, spiritual accompaniment of volunteers and guests.
I will close with one of the songs we sang, called Haz Llover: Make it rain over this place/ I am so thirsty/come and satisfy my thirst and fill me/ come and refresh my interior/ Fill my cup to overflowing/touch me/ hold me/surround me/ O God./Your rain is falling/ your glory is descending/your fire is burning inside me. Your rain is healing me/ your glory restoring me/ your fire falls on me today.