"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." (Psalm 46)
...I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me; to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my walk is not ended --Nelson Mandela
On August 24, the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced that they had reached a final peace agreement that would end 52 years of fighting.
On August 29, guns were silenced as both sides entered into the final bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities.
And today, September 26, 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Timoleón Jiménez, signed the final accord, signaling the beginning of the end of the oldest armed conflict in the Americas.
For the many lives, for the many injustices, for the many steps taken for this moment to arrive –we the people from the world should strive to live out our God-given-humanity within us --outside. Outside our internal protective walls, outside of our imprisonment stigmas, outside of social constructs that inhibit our fully God-given existence.
For the many left behind, there are many still in the search for forgiveness, others looking for revenge, for retaliation, for pay back for what was lost, taken away, stolen from, for restitution a country’s dignity. Let’s remind one another that for God forgiveness and compassion should be our constant reminder to allow peace that comes from within –to come out outside.
The peace for expressing oneself as one created in our Creator’s image and beloved by our Redeemer’s everlasting embrace.
For the 1,731 lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender Colombians who were registered as victims of the conflict (and many more who have not been recognized yet) we offer prayers for forgiveness, for healing, for change and justice for all those without a voice, and forever long gone but still present in our collective memory.
The Reverend Lizette Merchán Pinilla, M.Div., is a Colombian minister in the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the UCAN UCC–HIV/AIDS Network, Colombia Partnership (http://www.ctucc.org/partnerships/colombia/), Proyecto Bienvenida y Gracia UCC, Sermon Seeds contributor, writer, and the convener of the Tulsa Hispanic Resource Association (social-services organization).