What does it mean to be church? This thought has accompanied the SEEDers in the past weeks, a question that invites us to reflect on the role of the church in contexts of profound vulnerability. Some of the SEEDers participated in a meeting of the Anabaptist churches from Soacha, where we reflected on the commitment of being a church that is established as a place of peace, with a message of peace that works towards the reconciliation of human beings with God and with the community, a church that is committed to the Gospel message to bring hope where there is none, establishing a Sanctuary of Peace, a space for individual transformation where those who have opted for the path of violence can trade their weapons for the experience of Christ’s love from the brothers and sisters. It was a profoundly enriching space with the churches of Soacha that have received people who have suffered displacement and have found a place to develop their gifts and serve others, whether it be in community dining halls, education centers, cultural projects, or among other initiatives that allow the church to show the love of Jesus.
This conviction of serving and working towards peace is part of our Anabaptist commitment. During the devotionals we SEEDers reflected on Jesus’ commitment to loving the enemy, showing that nonviolence is not only a strategy of fighting, but it is a lifestyle that invites us to go against the current of the logic of dominance, competition, and worldly powers. This was also a time of thanking God for the intercultural community that we have formed, for the opportunity to respect each other in the midst of cultural, theological, and political differences, experiencing the power of love in our own lives. In this context we shared a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, and we enjoyed a flavorful dish from Zimbabwe, Africa prepared by Godswill Muzarabani, letting us get a taste of his home. We also enjoyed spending time with Vilma in her home, who shared with us the rich culinary tradition of the Pacific region with an Afrocolombian flavor by preparing an exquisite dish of “bochinche” rice for us. It was a time in which we experienced the construction and knitting together of relationships, and the importance of these small details, which teach us that being the church is being a community and that when a church gives to their community, the community gives to the church.
By Alejandra Arboleda