Faith, love, and hope – Jan. 14

It is just Sam and I now. Our companions returned to Havana and will soon be with their families. We walked to the conference center and the Cuba pastors welcomed me now as a friend rather than a professor. There are four women who are always together like the Musketeers. This morning they were swinging on the swing set near the pool and laughing like children. They said they had learned from Zinzendorf to be like little children! I nearly cried because this is what the church should be. We talked about the Essentials in Moravian doctrine, and I think they should be teaching Moravians in America. They especially understand why love is an essential.

More than most American Moravians, they wanted to discuss creation as an essential and that we are to love creation as God loves creation. They have no problem with the concept of environmental ethics. They see this as an expansion of liberation theology because climate change will affect the poor the most. They also understand Comenius’s idea of the imago dei being the basis of our Christian ethic. They also were more interested in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit than most Moravian groups I talk to in America. Of course the Spirit works within us to make us more like Christ. Of course we can only love our enemies because the Spirit empowers us. We had some interesting discussion about the millennial and Moravian hope for a better future. Very good questions, especially from those with theological education.

Next we discussed the Ministerials: the Bible, sacraments, and other important tools of the church. Again, Armando understands this better than most Moravians in the US. I talked about the meaning behind Moravian practices, and when we were discussing communion many of us were wiping tears from our eyes as we talked about how Christ is present in communion. It does not matter much whether you accept the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation or the Reformed doctrine of sign, so long as Christ is truly spiritually present. I talked about how meaningful it is to me to serve communion in the Moravian Church: to offer the body and blood to each person individually, to look in their eyes and see the love of Christ.

We ended early so Sam and I could go downtown. We had excellent mojitos and a very tasty fish dinner at a restaurant filled with Canadians. It was sometimes difficult because beggars, partiers, and prostitutes would wander through the sidewalk café, and some were quite demanding. With the changes in Cuba as communism declines, these things are increasing it seems.

We had limited success with internet, but I did get some emails. One of them told me that my brother was in the hospital having quadruple by-pass surgery. I realized just how far away I am, and how difficult it is not being able to be in contact with people at home.

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