Showing posts from November, 2018

Junk for Jesus

I am not sure who coined the phrase "Junk for Jesus," but it came into my lexicon a few years back.  Already, many of you are nodding and chuckling at the mention of this short phrase because without any explanation needed, folks who work in churches or organizations that solicit and welcome in-kind donations know exactly what "Junk for Jesus" is.  For the good-hearted donors among you who would appreciate a definition of the phrase "Junk for Jesus," let me enlighten you:  "Junk for Jesus" is cast-off stuff, sometimes neatly tied into recycled plastic bags, often labeled, and happily placed into donation bins.  It is the stuff that is "too good" to throw out.  It is the stuff leftover from rummage sales (usually with price stickers still affixed).  It is clothing and shoes that children have worn well or which have been stashed for a few decades in an attic or a basement.  Junk for Jesus sometimes has sentimental value. Sentiment is


The sound of fireworks echoes through the cool night air.  It is late.  For some reason the stink of sewer gases is strong tonight.  We closed the windows but can still hear the pops and booms and barking dogs. Several hours ago, we walked to the UCA (Central American University) to see the colorful carpets and walk in the annual pilgrimage in honor of the Jesuit martyrs.  Flocks of small green parrots accompanied us on the walk, migrating from their daytime roosts near where we live and their nests in the trees on campus.  Their calls were loud enough to compete with the noise of the city traffic. We arrived on campus just in time to view the colorful sand and salt carpets before the sun set.  The themes are consistent from year to year, calling for peace, justice and love for one another and all of creation.  Following his recent canonization, Saint Oscar Romero was featured prominently this year, not only in the carpets, but throughout the reflections which were broadcast before

We Wish You a Merry Souls Day

About two weeks ago, I walked into Dollar City to pick up some paint for a church project.  It was All Souls Day - the day on which Salvadoran families remember their beloved ones who have died.  I was caught off guard by the sound of organ music filling the air.  Within a moment, I turned to my husband and asked, "Is that Christmas music?" Creepy Halloween appendages give way to boxes of blue, red and silver ornaments in Aisle 1 at Dollar City on All Souls Day Beyond the orange, black and purple remnants of Halloween in Aisle 1, Dollar City had been converted to Christmas Town.  Salvadorans do have a love of Christmas chachkies - especially snowmen.  I asked a pastor friend today if El Salvador has a different tradition than Santa Claus (we happened to be grocery shopping together and paused to check out a row of Christmas stuff).  "Oh no," he said, "we have always had the tradition of the Santa of the United States.  It wouldn't make sense to have a

All Saints on a Plane

Most flights to El Salvador include announcements spoken in Spanish.  This one did not. Most flights to El Salvador do not involve much turbulence.  This one did. When the seatbelt sign is illuminated, the instruction is to remain seated.  This seems obvious to passengers who fly frequently.  However, if you are an old guy and you really need something from your bag in the overhead compartment and you do not understand the instruction given only in English, even though the airplane is about to take off, you might pop up out of your seat, pop open that overhead door and start digging around.  "Sir," the attendant barked over the intercom, "You must be seated!"  A kindly seat-neighbor pulled the elderly man down into his seat.  The attendant ran down the aisle and closed the compartment door.  We took off.  The guy next to me shook his head. "This is your captain speaking.  We expect a smooth ride into San Salvador." Not.  We skipped along the tops o