Go and see: the courage of indigenous communities
By Kathy Mitchell
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Reflection: How do we begin to carry each other’s burdens? It is in our own faith journey that we encounter many different paths, some easy, some difficult; in doing so, we may find ourselves at a crossroads or perhaps even retracing our steps puzzling over where we stepped off the path.
Recently, my own faith journey led me to the steep mountainsides of Guatemala and the breathtaking terrain of Costa Rica. It was in the stories of indigenous communities that I heard their cry for their beloved land and their courage to protect it. Over and over again, I heard them say: “Thank you for coming; thank you for listening to my story.” One in particular, Sara, I asked, “What would help you here in La Puya?” I was taken aback by her response when she replied, “A psychologist,” as she began to tell her story of struggle, shame, and resilience in the fight to protect her homeland. It was an incredible blessing for me to meet the courageous people of Central America and to realize that, although we may be worlds apart, we have so much in common as well. It is in their voice I again say, “Thank you for listening to my story.”
Action: Amid the difficulties, inconveniencies, and rare quiet pauses of life, let us take a moment to be in awe of the beauty that surrounds us and remember those who stand firm against the injustices in our world.
Prayer: God of love, grace, and mercy, help us in our daily tasks to listen and to help carry the burdens of others. May we bear witness to each other in our struggles and sorrows and share in the triumph as brothers and sisters in Christ, for you alone are our Redeemer and our Strength Everlasting. Amen.
Kathy Mitchell is an elder and the treasurer at Chinle Trinity Presbyterian Church in Chinle, Navajo Nation, Arizona. She is a graduate from Northern Arizona University in school counseling and works at the local public school serving her community. Kathy was a participant in the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s travel study seminary to Guatemala and Costa Rica in August 2017.
This year’s A Season of Peace resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues like human trafficking and sustainable development, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the days of this year’s A Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect on:
- Peace that passes understanding: personal testimonies of faith and peace within self, within families, within communities
- Partners in peace: interfaith work for peace and justice, building peace between us while witnessing to peace in our wider world
- Go and see: reflections from travel study seminar participants
- The church and its witness: reflections on addressing trafficking in its varied forms
- Peacemaking and practice: stories and reflections on building bridges and crossing divide
Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 2, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 7.