Jesus told a story long ago about a man who was planning a wedding feast. At first, he invited "the right" guests, his wealthy and privileged peers. But they all declined the invitation by giving lame excuses. Some sounded like, "I'm washing my hair that night... Sorry." And so the host decided instead to invite everyone and anyone. He invited those who were sick, suffering and lowly in every way. People who offered nothing to him but their presence and willingness to celebrate. They came and had a rocking good time.
There are so many ways for us to identify with this story and learn from it. We've all been selective in our generosity at times. We have given only to those who provide something to us in return. And we've all been among "the wrong" people who were not invited into homes, lives or friendships. We all have experienced the suffering that results from not valuing and not being valued.
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But the coolest part of the story is that right here and now we can become that grand and gracious host. Right here and now, we can choose to open our hearts to everyone today, take the risk and experience joy.
Jesus called this kind of open-hearted living "the kingdom of God."
ENLACE's intention is that every community development project is like Jesus' wedding feast. Everyone, especially the lowliest, has room to voice her/his needs. They all take part in the solutions for themselves and their neighbors. The leaders themselves are often the lowliest in their communities. As they become empowered, miracles happen.
Women are not only the pupusa makers in the back of the church or attendees at community functions, but are the leaders. According to Yeni Molina, the General Coordinator of La Labor's Economic Development Committee and co-pastor of the local church,
"The vision we have a for our community can be summed up in two words: total transformation. I’ve realized that ENLACE helps to shine the light on patterns within the church that created barriers in relating with people outside our walls. Now, I am so happy to say, we work hand in hand with our neighbors and that is essential to communicating our faith... We share the burden together and together we witness the results.”
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