Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thanksgiving on the 4th of July

Today we took a little break from our Water Filter revisions because we were invited to attend a special mass. 

It was a mass requested by a man in Santa Cruz.  His name is Oscar.  Towards the end of May Oscar was in his field – with the intention to work all day clearing the weeds and to get the land ready to plant.  And a storm came.  They sometimes arrive fast here.  And this one did. It didn’t rain, but lightning struck a tree near where he was walking and he was knocked out. 

This mass was an act of Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving for life and for a loving God who loves and protects.

It was beautiful.  It was held in Oscar’s yard.  He covered a 6x6 meter space with a tarp so we would all be shaded.  People came from several different cantons. 

This was mostly a regular mass presided over by Father Santos – a regular mass but also with reflections about the act of thanksgiving.  One of the scripture readings for today was from Amos chapter 5.  How appropriate for a man such as Oscar – who as far as I can tell from his words and actions – is a man who follows that advice:

“Seek good, not evil, that you may live.  Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you just as you say he is”


After the mass, Oscar told the story of the day he was struck.  And his sincere belief that God was with him and protecting him.  But – he also said – we need to be ready always – because we don’t know when our time will be when we are called to join God.

I video-taped his testimony.  But my batteries ran out halfway through.  And my second set of batteries just charged last night must be old because they don’t seem to be holding their re-charge.  I will try to transcribe and translate for a future blog. 

He was visibly nervous (not like him – he is a Delegate of the Word and is quite accustomed to talking).  His hands were shaking.  He was overcome by emotion and had to pause a few times.  His words were a true act of thanksgiving. 

First to God for being with him.  Then to his family who tended to him.  His friends in the community who kept vigil with him.  A friend with a truck who took him back and forth to BerlĂ­n for check ups a few times.  The Pastoral Team (us) for coming out to visit him twice within a week to check on his well-being.  The Santa Cruz soccer team for planting his corn which he could not do because the lightning strike left him in a very fragile state from which he is still recovering.

Oscar - very deeply grateful for his life


What an honor to be able to attend such an act of thanksgiving.  It’s good to remember to whom the first thanks should go. 

Thanks be to God.
May you all be so protected.

The entry way to Oscar's home (shares the same plot of land with his in-laws)

The altar

Father Santos

A large symbol of their faith in front of their home