Thursday, May 24, 2012

All we are saying...

When I was 16 I lived in Arlington, VA, just outside DC.  There was a huge peace march  scheduled at which Coretta Scott King was the keynote speaker.  My parents let me attend with the family of my best friend.  There were thousands and thousands of people there.  My most enduring memory was the end of the march when we filed past the White House singing, "All we are saying is give peace a chance..."  Night had fallen and many people left their burning candles on the wall around the White House.  The soft refrain of the song, the candles bobbing in everyone's hands as we quietly and peacefully passed by was a moving and inspiring moment in my life.

Forty years later, I find myself back in the struggle for peace.  Last week, I took a group to the school in Flor to attend the weekly devotional.  Just when I think I have experienced it all, I am reduced to tears by the beauty of our ministry there.  It was the day we all learned a Honduran journalist, kidnapped earlier in the week, had been murdered.  He was one of the "good guys" and we were all bereft at the loss.  The children, all 187 of them, stood and sang in pure, innocent voices two peace songs:

(chorus of the first song)
Peace, peace, peace
Flor del Campo asks for peace
Achieve peace in your heart and pour it out over the family

Peace, peace, peace
Flor del Campo asks for peace
Achieve peace in your heart and pour it out over Honduras

Help me see with Your eyes
I want to feel with Your heart
I don't want to live anymore with indifference
There is so much need, oh Jesus Christ

I ask you for peace for my city
I ask you for forgiveness for my city
I humble myself and seek Your face
Who can I go to Lord if not to You

As we drove out of Flor, I noticed there were banners denouncing violence and proclaiming peace throughout the colonia.  A new spirit of peace permeating the city...

Today, I was again marching for peace.  This time in Flor del Campo with well over 700 children and youth along with many adults.  We marched through Flor with banners, flags, and posters.  The group in house, 9 students from College of Charleston, a Professor, and staff member, also joined the march.  While everyone was assembling we painted the children's faces with hearts, peace signs, and butterflies!  It was a very festive occasion complete with music, clowns and even clowns on stilts! 

Soon it was time to start.  The campo (soccer field) was filled with children from our Children's Home and El Cordero school, and several local public schools.  One of the schools sent their drum line which played enthusiastically the entire march!  I was surrounded by our children and  I was so proud to see many of the Alonzo Movement kids helping the organizers of the march.  Many of our staff members were key members of the organizing team, in particular Gabriel and Menguin.   I loved marching past our school and thinking about how the peace inside was flowing out all around the community.  One of the micro-credit clients fell in with us there.  As we walked along I was so moved as more and more people from the community joined us.  Many people waved and cheered us on from their homes.  We would all shout, "Queramos Paz!"  (We want peace!)  or "No mas violencia!"  (no more violence)  The press was there in full force - finally positive news about Flor!  ( El Heraldo article about the march)

My enduring memory from this march?  The children lifting up their voices singing and praying for peace.  Their voices, their prayers irresistible to God...

"Peace, peace, peace.  Flor del Campo asks for peace."  
Dear Lord, let it be so.  Amen 
"For you, for me, for our family...No more violence"