Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dominicans, Mother Teresa & Michael More...

G'day from northern El Salvador! I walked for the first couple of days in El Salvador but my leg became worse over time until I was almost hopping down the highway. It was too painful to even move so I've rested it for the remainder of this week & made my way between towns by any means possible. This week I've had a shake up of why I'm walking & what unity really is thanks to a Dominican priest in San Salvador. The night before arriving in San Salvador I saw an interview with film-maker Michael More who commented on his latest film exposing the disgrace of the USA's Health Care system. He noted that when he arrives at the 'Pearly Gates' he expects to be asked by Jesus if he feed him when he was hungry, clothed him when he was naked & nursed him when he was sick; That as a Christian it is his responsibility to stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. It struck me on two counts, firstly because I didn't realise this side of Michael More existed & secondly because it struck me that there was a connection of sorts between Unity & loving your neighbour, but I didn't at that point realise how strong that connection was! I have held from the very beginning of this walk that Unity is important but not the most important aspect of our faith but that, as Michael Moore observed, loving our brothers & sisters is. When I arrived in San Salvador I vistited a few churches but ended my day with an offer of hospitality at a Dominican Parish in the CBD. I initially spoke with a German missionary priest who was straight down the line in saying that he didn't care too much for inter-denominational unity when there was such disunity within the christian world socially. The rich & the poor are not united. All around me in San Salvador I could see evidence of division, from the bullet holes in the church doors where 21 people were masacred, to the hundreds of homeless men, women & children outside the church, to the reports of the on average 12 murders per day in this small country. The priests words ate at me for the next 24 hours & I then happened to read a series of quotes from Mother Teresa who expressed a similar line of thought to that of Michael More. Incredibly, Mother Teresa also had her own little play on what would be asked at the 'Pearly Gates' quoting, "Jesus will not ask you how much you have done, but rather how much love have you put into what you have done." It was as if my eyes were being opened to the grand picture of unity & I've since begun to see unity in a very different light. Unity is theologically, philosophically and socially - completely. Unity is Love. And love is not just a feeling but rather an action. Perhaps those of you reading this have already been praying for unity on a social level as well, but if not, please consider this element of unity as you do pray. I'm personally beginning to wonder if I'll ever make it back home now - there's too much work to do :-) Who's in?
Before I log off, a very big thank you to all those who have helped me out financially after the various set backs - The path is open now to simply focus back on prayer so thank you very much!

NEXT WEEK: I know there are many people reading these blogs who I've never met and I often get questions about the walk passed on to me via email so next week I thought I'd do a Q&A. So, whether I know you or not, it you'd like to leave a question in the comments section or drop an email to I'll try to answer as many as I can next week!

Until then though, please keep praying & inviting others to pray as well.
God bless, Sam.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Matt 25: 34-36


Martin, Lisa, Olivia, Emily & Julian Pannell said...

Hi Sam, You are living out that Scripture (Matt 25: 34-36) beautifully. The way you speak about and love those around you is inspiring. Keep on keeping on bro, MP & the P-fan club.

lee said...

Sam, Each week I read your story and it gives me hope, fills me with peace and encourages me to take my part in the story of my faith.
During my work day, I take a minute her or a couple of minutes there to reflect on my journey of faith, how I can listen closer to the word of God, have I done my part in the creation of the kingdom of God (thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven), am I carrying the burden he has given me?
As we overlook the world of violence, injustice, oppression, inequal distribution of the worlds resources, starving people etc, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the evil. We did not make the full mess ourselves, but are we willing to take full expression of Gods love to the world in an effort to clean the mess? Many hands make light work.
Thanks for the inspiration Sam, Lee

Rebecca said...

Yeah Hi Sam, it would be so easy to be discouraged. Obviously the Lord is with you - stay close to Him i say!!
Keep on truckin'
Bec von Perger

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!....thanks Sam for the encouraging and inspiring entry.