"My son": a reflection on a sermon
Scroll down and click on 'sermon'
Fr. Mike spoke of a dinner he had attended with the Anglican Archbishop of El Salvador. One of the things this man has to do as Archbishop is to negotiate kidnap and hostage situations. He told a story of being awakened at 2 Am with a demand for $1 million in exchange for the release of a little girl.
He replied "My son, neither the family, I or anyone have $1 million. Please (and here I paraphrase) do the right thing and let her go."
Then there was a long pause and the kidnapper asked "Why did you call me 'my son'?"
The AB said "All in El Salvador are my children."
The kidnapper said "No one has ever called me that before."
The sermon went on to tell how those 2 words opened communication between the teen gangs in El Salvador and lives were changed for the good.
After listening to this sermon, I couldn't get it out of my head. In my neck of the Anglican woods, the Episcopal Church of the USA, debate rages over who can or cannot be this that or the other within TEC, who fits or who doesn't, who belongs or who should leave or be kicked out. This debate is often conspicuous for its lack of unconditional love.
Yet the story of the Archbishop of El Salvador shows us the power of unconditional love. The story shows us what happens when we cease to insist on our human terms of categories and limitations and embrace and begin to practice God's all encompassing unconditional love.
In my opinion, we in the USA have a lot to learn from the example of the Archbishop of El Salvador. Maybe we could get out of our heads and into the streets of the USA or our own corner of the world to follow the example of the Archbishop of El Salvador or St. Benedict to see the face of Christ in every human being we meet.
Because His face is there. If we don't see it, it is not the other person's fault, but our own.