Faith on Earth - in Chile

Scripture     Luke 18:1-8


                    Jesus told the disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

                       And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.

                              Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?

                              Will he delay long in helping them?

                              I tell you, God will quickly grant justice to them.

                              And yet, when the Son of Man comes,

                             will he find faith on earth?



During these last few days we have witnessed a modern day miracle manifesting the power of faith. For some 69 days, while the entire world watched and waited and prayed, the Chilean families of 33 miners camped out at the San Jose copper mining site in their tent village named, Camp Hope. Here families, villagers and workers gathered for two months in support and prayer vigil to “pray always and do not lose heart.” The news media reports that about one billion people worldwide were watching the rescue of the first miners just after midnight on October 13, 2010. How beautiful a tribute to Jesus’ final words in today’s parable. “When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth?”


Chileans have made humanity proud. The determination & dedication of the rescue team and the perseverance and the will power of the miners to survive are a lesson to us all. Just how the miners and families prayed and never lost heart will be recorded over the next months, but from their first spoken  moments as they emerged from their underground cave we catch just a glimpse into the depths of faith they were plunged into that August 5, 2010, the day the mining tunnel collapsed.


When adversity strikes, when tragedy befalls us, we are immediately thrust into the great “workshop of life.” It is during the ensuing days and months that “the dark night of faith” tests the soul and purifies and refines the human person to champion beyond their own powers of reasoning and succeeding. It has been reported that one of the more senior and experienced miners, from the earliest days, had the strongest will to survive. Throughout those 17 days, before the miners were discovered alive, with his long experience, he was able to tell the younger ones to remain calm and to have faith they would be rescued. What a wonderful witness of unwavering faith from an elder who gave such power and protection to others who struggled and doubted.


Here in the caverns of the earth, some 2,044 feet below the surface, in a small, cold, and dark entombment, some 33 men will find within their own hearts, their God and their own inner peace. This ‘workshop of life’ must have been a place of deep struggle and deep transformation. One of the rescued miners has already reflected to the press that: ''I have been with God and with the devil,'' he said. ''I fought between the two. I seized the hand of God, it was the best hand. I always knew God would get us out of there.''  In the stark confinement, they must have faced the unfathomable mystery of life and death and the tremendous value of each person. Alone and together they must have agonized with their fears and their regrets and cried out to God. While their loved ones and all the world community persisted in prayer above ground, we all waited together in one of the largest Prayer Vigils in our history, I believe… and God “heard our cries and did not delay long in helping them.” We have read in our news media of the heroics of engineers and NASA and individuals and companies around the world who performed an unprecedented speedy and safe rescue mission. For an incredible 69 days we witnessed “faith on earth” in Chile.  


We were all particularly moved when we heard that several of the men actually asked to be #33 in the rescue mission. To be “the last one up” from the bowels of the earth was their selfless honour and tribute to a community of miners and forever friends.


We can all draw such abundant blessing this weekend as we pause in gratitude for the life and witness of these 33 Chilean miners and their ‘living faith’ and perseverance through trials to such a triumph of the human spirit. These heroes of faith ...and the Gospel today... challenge us to face our own present difficulties with perseverance and patience. In the face of our afflictions and disappointments, we too can often easily lose heart and become discouraged by the delay in resolving the situation. It is why Jesus counsels ‘pray always and do not lose heart.” For most of us, it is the encouragement of others that lifts our hopes and keeps us turning towards God in our trials and troubles. The communities and families that gathered in vigil together during these two worrisome months, were like the brothers, Aaron and Hur, the ones ‘holding up Moses’ arms’  as centuries ago, he prayed to God for the benefit of all his people in their desert saga.     


And you have to love that widow in the Gospel account. She is just not giving up seeking what she is owed in justice. You know that her faith and trust are in a God she believes cares for all peoples. She will remain faithful to that belief to the end and not lose heart. She will pray and leave the outcome to God. She, like the families, engineers, politicians, rescuers and media personnel, will not shrink from their rightful responsibility towards others. God cannot help but hear these cries and will not delay long in helping them, in helping you! Today we see the power and witness of faith and actions praising and glorifying God. Join in the universal CAMP HOPE and lift up your hands and hearts in celebration. "God is with us, God is within us, God is beyond us!"

Carrying Grace      I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.  Ps. 121



#3 arletteh 2010-10-17 23:43
"For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed : nor is anything secret,except to come to light-Mrk 4:22" Yes, our faith so often seems to be hiding, or sleeping , or dormant,yet when the time comes when it is sorely needed,that little mustard seed can be revived, or , if it is a more alive faith, spring to life!I think we live at a time when the world needs the faith of those who have it , to be SHARED. What a sharing there was brought forth in Chile, at the mine that collapsed!It's a good advertisement for God, for faith!I thank God,too, for the sharing of faith on this site!Especially , Rosemary, and all contributors!
#2 Mark Dickinson 2010-10-14 01:50
... but his Presence is surely felt in the lives of caring people -- people, living with compassionate, selfless hearts ... who dig deep within themselves to drink from the "well of the Divine" . These people are spiritual heroes that remind us we are all vessels of God waiting to be filled with His healing presence.
Let the taps open fully ... and let His presence fill us 'till we overflow!
#1 Mark Dickinson 2010-10-14 01:48
Once again we are reminded ... that "the hands of God" are found in the tireless, selfless lives of people caring for one another. God is most certainly alive in the hearts of compassionate men and women .... we only need to see the Chilean rescue to know, and see, that we are never alone.
Whenever we have doubts that God participates in the healing actions within our world ... we should stop and think about the Chilean rescue. In our moments of doubt, and insecurity .... we should stop and think about all the Chilean people who worked through the night to see that the rescue process went smoothly, without error ... and think about the engineers and managers who carefully thought through all aspects of the rescue ... and think about the doctors, priests and family members who were giving daily reassurance to the miners -- to not lose hope, to stay strong .. to believe in their rescue. Think about this rescue ... and be strengthened that God's ways may indeed be a mystery, but his Presence is most definitely seen in the lives of caring people -- people, living with compassionate, selfless hearts ... who dig deep within themselves to drink from the "well of the Divine" . These people will always be spiritual heroes ... reminding us that we are vessels of God waiting to be filled with His healing presence.
Let the taps open fully ... and let His Presence fill us 'till we overflow!

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