Thursday, March 25, 2004

"We are prophets of a future not our own"

Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Electrolite reminds us that yesterday was the 24th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador. I learned just a few years ago of the circumstances surrounding Archbishop Romero's assassination. It was one of the key points in my increased awareness of appalling U.S. interventions in Latin America, and around the world. This article in the Guardian notes that the men who killed Archbishop Romero were trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Romero wrote the following prayer. I will honor his life and the lives of others like him by letting him speak for himself, and praying with him:

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny
fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s
No set of goals and objectives includes

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that
they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a
step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.


Jeanne at Body and Soul helpfully points to a free book of Archbishop Romero's meditations available for downloading (free!) at Bruderhof Communities.