On April 4, a most special message came from the Jubilee Circle in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico. It is fitting for all in the JEM network, so we share an edited excerpt with you here.
We want, at this moment of crisis, to tell brothers and sisters of Jubilee San Diego and Jubilee Puebla (and all friends of Jubilee) that we continue to put our works and projects in the hands of the Lord, asking for a special blessing from the donors who in a great and generous way have offered so much with love….
We are grateful that the work that you have sustained … has been a blessing and strength … in the environment and the solidarity economy, … also the accompaniment that we have had with women in reflection and awareness …
We can build #UnMundoOtro (Another World) where everyone fits as it says in 1 Peter 3: 8 “living in harmony with each other, sharing sorrows and joys, practicing brotherly love, being compassionate and humble.”
We assume that we have an Omnipresent God; but also a God who has given us free will to decide and be responsible for … life, creation … It will depend on those of us who have understood Christianity in this way to act … and take up our mission with courage. …God says to our hearts now and always: “Strive and be brave, do not fear or be dismayed, (for) I am the Lord your God, and I will be with you, wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 9
What a welcome message as Covid-19 continues its devastations in the month that also brings us Easter, Passover, and Earth Day. Our gratitude to the San Cristobal Jubilee Circle deepens with the knowledge that they work with deep poverty and do much with so little. Yet, out of that experience, or because of it, they fuel our resolve with words of encouragement and faith.
Speaking of the special days in this month, Christians everywhere ponder the execution of Jesus by the powers of Rome’s empire and the Temple’s authorities. Applying this beyond the life of Jesus, let us recognize that today we experience the death of thousands because of a microbe—yes—but also because so many powers of the world did not prepare for a pandemic as they were urged to do. Instead, the systems of profit and death were hotly pursued. As a result, millions of humans, and millions of other species suffer and die. Such unconfined injustice, impunity, and suffering are part of Good Friday 2020.
Graciously, Easter comes. And the power of resurrection defies the powers of death, showing they are not absolute. “He is risen” is proclaimed in Christian liturgies around the world. Just as real, forms of resurrection are happening throughout Creation and humanity. People who’ve been captive to the powers of profit are having second thoughts and changing to become prophets of the way of life for all.
And Passover, April 8-16, focuses on the horrors being delivered by the powers of the world on dissidents, immigrants, and those who have less. But then comes the deliverance. Passover affirms the power of God that is able to break us out of the powers of this world, freeing us to shape a way of living immersed in the powers of Creation. Covid-19 can open our eyes to see such a new way.
In awareness of these special days, we welcome Earth Day (April 22), a reminder to zealously pursue shaping our lives to fit within Earth’s resources. This pursuit needs to extend beyond our personal lives, to organizations, businesses, and campuses, as well as to the policies of our local governments. Earth is our teacher, urging us to join her as she rebalances the imbalances among species, wealth, and Creation’s abundant and limited resources.
Covid-19 is a natural disaster like the wildfires, ocean rise, floods, and weather extremes. The virus jumped from a bat to our species because our species has aggressively pushed into habitats where microbes live in symbiosis with species. But in humans, those microbes are toxic. We must stop the destruction of habitat in order to prevent future pandemics. This month will, we pray, increase actions toward that end. We yearn for a deep conversion in how we define a good life.
Please consider an Easter offering to JEM, adding financial energy to your conviction to live the ways of resurrection. Or, in the Jewish spiritual path, offer it as your conviction that there are powers greater than those who now rule the world. God delivers us from the ways of death. Or, if you prefer, make it an Earth Day offering, expressing your deep love for Creation and Creator, and your continuing resolve to listen to her teaching.
Whatever you can give, Angelica, a physician in the San Mateo Circle, will use with her patients, some with flu symptoms, afraid of Covid-19, and no way to pay for treatments. Furthermore, costs of her medical supplies have recently been raised. Your donation will also be shared with the San Cristobal Circle and go toward basic sustenance for people whose cupboard is bare. JEM will make sure your donation goes where medical and sustenance needs are the greatest.
Lee Van Ham and John Michno for everyone in the Circles