During our Ash Wednesday service (Feb 13) the message shared by Hank Hilliard encouraged us to consider our priorities..the things that are most important in our lives..and to give those attention FIRST. It sure seems like the right and reasonable thing to do…but the reality of it is hard. Often it helps me to “realign” if I simply make time to stop the cycle that so easily distracts..whatever that cycle may be. We all need to know how to stop our cycle and realign.
On Monday I was so thankful to meet the new President and Treasurer of the National Metodista Church at the VIM office in Xela (Quetzaltenango). Pastors Tomas and Sebastian have just been elected into their leadership roles. They will serve two years. I see their hope that the time they serve will strengthen the churches. I see their desire to lead well and to build friendships. In the USA, the barriers to these things are busyness and trust. In Guatemala the barriers to such things are poverty and trust. My busyness distracts me. I suspect poverty distracts some of the pastors in Guatemala. My busyness can be many things…just like poverty can be many things, spiritual as well as physical. We will do well to seek God’s guidance and focus on the most important things FIRST.
During lunch (Pollo Campero…yum!) we had a funny discussion about Lent and Easter. I learned that the “Easter Bunny” doesn’t come to Guatemala! Holy Week and Easter are all about the story of Christ’s passion. The processions are held every Friday throughout the season of Lent and the activity of all people ceases when Maundy Thursday arrives. Everyone is “off” and everyone must go. Some will go to streets and follow the processions. Some will go away to the lake or some other restful place.
This is a country that celebrates, a country that mourns, a country that is still more interested in relationships and tradition than production. All exist, but they exist in different measures. It is not a “right” or “wrong”… a “good” or “bad”…it is quite simply: different.
It makes me wonder this morning…as I am transitioning back to my world and work here in the USA: what is most important today and how can I honor what God is teaching me? Because a gift from God is a gift that continues to give and bless..it is a dance that has no ending. Let it be.