By Carmelo Alvarez*:
This last September the world was shocked by the sudden and massive disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School near Tuxtla, Guerrero in Mexico. They were protesting the unjust education reforms that affect their education, looking for scholarships and student aid. The majority of these students come from very poor and marginalized areas of Mexico.
As the world was listening and reacting to this atrocity, the Student Council at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Matanzas, Cuba, convened a prayer vigil on November 6. The Seminary campus has this beautiful view of Matanzas Bay, from the top of a hill. We gather as community, with candles, pictures of each one of the students. Each one of them was mentioned by their names, with some reference to their lives and origins. We read the Bible, prayed for justice and expressed our solidarity to their families.
The Ayotzinapa tragedy raises many crucial issues. First, the violation of human rights in Mexico has been a constant and negative issue, primarily against women and students. In Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, women were massacred or disappeared for years, and to this day nobody knows exactly how many. Mexico is living in an environment of violence and terror to the point of experiencing a “civil war”.
Secondly, we need to insist on justice for these students and their families and never to forget what has happened. Praying for peace with justice and expressing our solidarity is the best way to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ in to our lives and history.
Isaiah, the prophet, tells it in poetic terms, reminding us of the true messianic hope:
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, the bringer of good news, announcing deliverance, proclaiming to Zion, ‘Your God has become king.’ (Isaiah 52.7).
The strength and authority of the reign of God pass through the weak and the poor of this world, who are God’s privileged ones. Reconciliation is that redemptive force of God in Christ that liberates, unites, and restores the new world of freedom, where there is justice for the poor.
Let there be peace in Mexico! May the Prince of peace be a source of hope for the relatives of the Ayotzinapa Students. And justice shine in the midst of so much injustice.
Shalom, Eirene, Peace, Pax, Paz in 2015 for Mexico and our broken world!
*Carmelo Alvarez serves as a missionary affiliate appointed by the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ to serve with the Latin American Evangelical Pentecostal Commission (CEPLA) and the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV) based in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as program consultant and visiting professor for the Latin American Pentecostal Commission (CEPLA) and the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV).
Source: Global Ministries: Disciples/UCC: http://globalministries.org/lac/missionaries/in-solidarity-with-1.html
Photo: Missing Ayotzinapa students (Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos)
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