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In this April edition of our Tamarindo Newsletter, we share with you our reflections on this most holy of months, the time of Passover and Easter.
Our people know all so well the story of both, being a people who have lived in exile and a people who continue to walk through calvary. We are also a people of faith, the people of Oscar Romero and a church of martyrs, crucified holy women and men of God.
We are El Salvador, the land of the “Saviour”.
Here in Chalatenango we understand suffering, death and hardship. Our brutal civil war and current economic, political and social conditions make it clear to us daily. Yet, we also understand commitment to change, personal responsibility, forgiveness and hard work, which in turn bring hope and yes, resurrection. Passover and Easter tell our story, the story of El Salvador.
Here in El Salvador, “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) is the biggest vacation time in the country. The whole country shuts down; imagine a whole country going on vacation. It is a time of family, food and cerveza. Most of the country travels to some body of water. Every road, every bus and car is jam-packed with people seeking El Salvador’s many beaches, lakes and rivers. In one sense it’s a beautiful celebration of family and for many, a very much well-deserved respite from work and daily life.
However, here at the Tamarindo we listened to the words of Saint Oscar Romero, who said, “Holy Week is meant to be a Holy Week.” We didn’t make it to the beach this Easter break, but instead traveled in prayer on a profound journey within.
Our goal was to make April a “Holy Month” by entering fully into the experience of both Passover and Easter.
We began with reflecting on Passover, the Hebrew deliverance from slavery. How crucial is that story for us as we struggle in our community and individually in our own process of liberation from our slavery to sin. Sin is a word that our culture emphatically rejects, but...
Isn’t it sin when we fail to love our sisters and brothers?
Isn’t it sin when we can’t love ourselves?
Isn’t it sin when we destroy our environment?
Isn’t it sin when people can’t live in their own country because of fear and lack of opportunity?
Isn’t it sin when parents have children and choose not to raise them with love?
Isn’t it sin when we neglect to defend the lives of the vulnerable?
Sometimes we just never stop to think how offensive sin really is to our God, a God who is both loving and merciful.
With hope in “Pascua” our Holy Month began.
RESURRECTION/ CHOOSING LIFE
There is a beautiful story told about the first Easter. Many of you know it.
Jesus is captured and brought before the “law” and convicted to death by the authorities (here we find many parallels to Salvadoran justice). He was then killed on a cross and placed in a tomb. On the third day, his friend came back to the tomb to find he was gone. On finding the empty tomb, she was of course both terrified and distraught. She then encountered a man she believed to be a gardener who asked her what was wrong. She explained and he said, “Why do you search for the living among the dead? He has risen.”
He has risen. Why do we search for life in the culture of death?
HOLY WEEK / THE WAY OF THE CROSS
Our month of reflection culminated with our Holy Week retreat where 75 of us put together a stage production of the Way of the Cross Chalatenango. For eight days, we prepared 15 stations (scenes) representing the passion, death and resurrection of Christ and his intimate relationship and solidarity with us here in Guarjila.
We also told the story of our own responsibility for our individual and collective suffering and the realization of how our own actions and decisions continue to crucify Christ today in the suffering (and death) of women and men all around us.
We created our scenes based on our year experience in Guarjila and in El Salvador, much of it very painful. We were able to tell the stories of forced migration, caravans, teen suicide, rape, child abuse, materialism, environmental destruction, robbery, addictions and sadly our indifference to the suffering, unfortunately our very own reality.
The performance was stunning and extremely powerful. Most importantly, it provided our community with the opportunity to reflect on our relationship with God and one another and for us, the actors, writers and crew, an opportunity to feel with Jesus in an intimate way or as Romero would say, “Sentir con la iglesia” (Feel with the Church).
For the Tamarindo, our Holy Month was a profound lesson in grace and God’s love.
We experienced a deeper realization of our own ongoing journey from slavery to life, a life meant to be lived mindfully in love with God and neighbor.
Please pray with us that we never forget and that we may always live with dignity.
May we always choose life over the culture of death.
Lastly with great joy we share our hope and love with you. We ask you to continue traveling with us in our exodus. Know how grateful we are to all of you.
So please accept from all of us here at the Tamarindo, a Blessed Passover and Easter, L’ Chaim, To Life!!!!
The Tamarindo Foundation, Inc is a 501 (c)(3), tax exempt, public charity.
Tamarindo Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 90404, Indianapolis, IN 46290 USA
+1 765 328 4565 | tamarindofoundationinc@gmail.