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and giving thanks for all those “blessings” that most of God’s children can’t even imagine, let alone rejoice over, let alone thank God for.It was not simply a report, but rather a pouring out of thankfulness to these couple dozen men whom he knew were his friends, and whom he had the joy of meeting with every two weeks. The other side of this, of course, cannot but fill one with great sadness. Here’s a mini-example: I don’t dine and feast as sumptuously as my friends in (m)any of those endless mouth-watering facebook postings (though with the many self-declared chefs experimenting with inspiration and gratitude in my kitchen (“you have SO MANY ingredients! They even shame me into the odd foray into the culiinary arts. That might be a step toward incarnation, of emptying of self, of accompanying God’s people at the basest human level . Now wouldn’t that kind of incarnational immersion, and all that grace celebrated face-to-face, be a marvel, something really worth giving thanks for, something truly worthy of a Canadian Thanksgiving festival? hate to give up my enchanting home and garden, my vibrant social life, my mobility, my health and healthcare . There was a time when Canada was considered by Salvadorans to be their friend, thanks especially to Canada’s generous reception of refugees and asylum seekers during El Salvador’s civil conflict, 1980-1992. I sometimes consider my life, my ministry, to be a mini-brush with incarnation, a mini-, marginal-following of Jesus, as per Phil 2:5-8. I have considered showing up at the maximum-security–minimun-humanity–prison in El Salvador, insisting that I be imprisoned and subjected to the same inhuman, life-trampling conditions suffered without respite by other children of God, other siblings of Jesus. Not forever, of course, just until basic United Nations-acceptable measures for humane treatment of inmates were met. Not because they enjoy abundance, or all too often anything at all, or even anything approaching health, but mostly because they have each other–not even Jesus, since most in Calcutta are other than Christian–and life itself, if only just a tiny spark of it, for all-too-fleeting moments. Yet, yesterday, the legislative assembly passed an anti-mining law, unanimously. (now there are some wild examples of gratitude, the most unlikely gratitude–over 500 pages of them). Even having spent more than 2,000 days over the past two decades in sub-human Salvadoran prisons, ever seeking to humanize those hellish places, those infernal spaces, in some miniscule measure, I still can’t imagine the hellish conditions of daily life and death in the slums of Calcutta, into which several Jesus-like, incarnation-inspired, incarnational individuals joyfully immersed themselves, as “The City of Joy” bears faithful and inspiring witness. What if all the members of our(Ecumenical Pastors for Peace) team were to take on such an incarnational challenge? And I wouldn’t be surprised if I should encounter the same level of joy, the same pervasive thanksgiving, that filled “The City of Joy”, as I have in each of the 2,000 mini-immersions I’ve experienced to date. In El Salvador, even air and water are contentious and divisive issues all too often.

Well, for now, maybe I’ll just stick to incarnation-lite . In recent years, due to aggressive, deceptive (persistent media campaigns promoting “green” mining, then “responsible” mining) and destructive gold-mining exploration in El Salvador by Canada’s Pacific Rim–later Canada’s / Australia’s Oceana Gold–that privileged standing has slipped to a tragic extent.By Sofia Menchu GUATEMALA CITY, June 22 (Reuters) - A major earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala on Thursday, damaging buildings and downing trees as well as causing powerful tremors in neighboring El Salvador. The quake, measured at a magnitude of 6.8 by the U. Geological Survey, struck 38 kilometers (24 miles) southwest of Puerto San Jose at a depth of 46.8 kilometers.A deeper earthquake of similar magnitude struck the interior of Guatemala last week, killing at least two people and damaging buildings. It shone from his eyes, it emanated through his energetic body language, it flowed through his passionate words. My group had the word / theme “The man beside me, about 50 years of age, had no trouble convincing us of his joy. For 23 years, I have had the honour and privilege of accompanying persons living with HIV.

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