Monday, January 28
More than 30 years ago, the first case of AIDS was identified. People infected with the virus have suffered anguish, abandonment, and death. Looking for answers to their painful and strange state of health, they approached the churches, but the majority of churches maintained silence and turned their backs.
At the beginning of the new millennium, a small Presbyterian congregation in Maracay, a city located in north central Venezuela, was challenged by the presence of people who lived with HIV/AIDS and people who were gay or lesbian. Some members left over issues of inclusion—so many that there were very few left. Nevertheless, women and men rose up to transform “religious rhetoric” into Christian praxis of inclusion and solidarity, and to draw from our faith a response to human pain. The work was immense, but God multiplied our efforts just as with the five loaves and two fish, and we were able to feed their thirst for being loved and comforted with the word of life and hope.
The God who is committed to human beings made the miracle possible. Today, with people of different ages, confessions, ideologies, and sexual orientations, we are constructing a beautiful network of solidarity. And in the words of an African proverb, “Simple people, doing small things, in places of little importance, achieve extraordinary changes.” To God be the glory!
—Pastor Josué Gómez Padilla and Sigrid Álvarez, Life and Hope Ministry
(a service of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela), Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela
Let us join in prayer for:
Presbyterian Church of Venezuela: Elder Loida Gáffaro de Valera, moderator, Rev. Elisa Muñoz de Bulmes, executive secretary
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, redeemer and transformer of the world, we ask that you release us from all the old slaveries of our grave sins of exclusion, egotism, intolerance, and lack of commitment to your justice. Amen.