sexta-feira, 1 de janeiro de 2016


You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
Psalm 30:11 (read 30.1-12) - NIV

The scriptures are born from human experience. They spring from the heart. They portray anxieties and joys, weeping and laughter, doubts and certainties, mourning and celebration, defeats and triumphs, despair and hope, disappointments and surprises, fear and comfort, dissatisfactions and praise, anger and affection, hatred and love. They present the whole mosaic of human feelings.

All feelings are good and occupy a natural part of our personality. Each has its role and its place in the course of life. All are essential to a balanced life and the development of a healthy spirituality. Having only joy would be silly, only sadness would be foolish. Jesus laughed and wept, was pleased and was angry, was joyful and was sad, was comforted and was distressed, was resigned and was revolted, was pro and was con. He experienced both rejection and acceptance. He was loved and was hated.

Nature reinforces the fact of the existence of polarities in life. Day and night form a duet that measures time. The sun and the moon dance together to mark the seasons. Drought, rain, cold and heat, storm and calm work together to produce life. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter promote the cycles of life.

Nothing is permanent and unchanging. The darkness of night always ends and so does weeping. Our difficulties are not invincible, nor are they permanent defeats. Hope gives us strength to overcome the difficult times of an uphill climb and to reach the top of the mountain that reveals new horizons to be reached.

The period 1985-1986 was one of the worst of my life. I ran the risk of the interruption of my missionary career. It was a time of stress, uncertainty, discomfort, pressures and disappointments. In order to not lose my sanity I would get up early in the mornings and run for at least an hour to ease the tensions.

That same period was also one of the best of my life. I made new friends and discovered new horizons. Illusions evaporated and idols fell. It was the beginning of developing a prophetic and critical view of culture and institutions. I gained a more realistic understanding of the church, the scriptures and the world. Christ became more cosmic and I was able to see Jesus in people whom I had merely tolerated before.

The darkness of night may be a time of weeping because our vision is limited and imagination takes over. But morning brings new light and reveals new horizons and new paths to be followed. With the new dawn, new hope can be reborn.

Globally we are in the period of weeping in the darkness of night. The statistics are bleak and frightening. The Holy Land and Middle East countries are washed daily with the blood of violence and hatred. Violence is becoming global and can strike anywhere at any time. Hunger is more and more a constant reality for millions of human beings. Cheap labor enriches the powerful. Every month hundreds of living species become extinct. The great predator, the human being, continues to ravage his own home, the Earth, suffering the illusion that violence is the solution to problems.

Our hope is that the night will not be eternal and that we will survive to see the light of a new day. Hopefully a new morning will change our rags of mourning into new clothes of joy and that we can dance again. Hopefully the experience of the psalmist can also become ours.


I will exalt you, Lord,
    for you lifted me out of the depths
    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
    and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
    you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
    praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,
    “I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
    you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
    I was dismayed.
To you, Lord, I called;
    to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
    Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

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