After several blogs that have been very event-based, this one is going to be a bit more reflective, a bit more globalized, a little bit Jesus-y. So hold onto your pants, everyone.
The Holy Week activities celebrated in Guajoyo were much more in-depth than I had ever experienced, and I really saw easter in a very different way. It was such an impactful experience that I was left reflecting on it for weeks, and only just now able to express somewhat concretely, because it has to do with a feeling that is so profound that it takes giants to make it budge: hopelessness.
When Jesus was killed, his body lowered from the cross and stowed away in a tomb, it felt a lot like defeat. All those people who had put their hope in him walked away thinking “well shit, I guess I was wrong.” 1 point for Evil, none for Good. Jesus, for all his good intentions, was unable to defeat death and the power of the rich/religious/powerful/__insert adjective here__. They had hoped for a world that was better, but instead, the bad guys won yet again. If Jesus, the son of God couldn’t defeat the bad guys, what hope did they have?
I have had moments of sheet hopelessness here, overwhelmed by the profundity of the problems that cause people to go hungry and gang violence to rob the lives of youths and corporate greed to rape the earth and leave it like a used paper towel. Not just moments, weeks, months. The bad guys keep winning, it feels like. I wrote in my journal one day that I am fighting in this lucha not because I think it can be won, but because I simply have to fight even for a losing cause if I believe it is a good one. But I did not see the hope of victory.
But as I was walking down the candlelit road following the body of Christ to be buried, I realized that Good Friday is a day all about that hopelessness, of feeling abandoned by God, of the sinking feeling that Evil will always beat Good.
But then two days later his body was no longer there, and it wasn’t as if Jesus said “Satan, you may have beat me on Friday, but I’ll show you come Sunday!” No, he had already won when they killed him, it was by dying that he overcame death, it could not touch him.
But for the people at his feet on the cross, or anxiously waiting for the news in their homes, what could his death be interpreted as other than defeat? But even in what they saw as defeat Jesus had already won. The places where I feel like Evil is winning, that good is being wrung out and made to be an endangered species, Good is winning. The faith that Jesus gave us on the cross is that the fight for what is Good is a winning fight, and that even when it looks like defeat, the very defeat is victory.
Here in El Salvador, we’re fighting so that everybody has the same right to healthy food; we’re fighting so that profit will not take priority over clean water; we’re fighting so that young people do not feel the need to take by force and violence within the harmful structures of gangs. But the rich keep getting richer, the environment keeps getting abused, and people keep being treated like a disposable resource, and what does that mean for the hope that Good will overcome?
Well, what I hope and believe it means is that even where we feel like we’re being defeated Goodness is winning. I think it has something to do with the fact that where the fight is fought, we’re already winning. The fact that there are thousands of people in this country who work day in and day out to fight for what is just and right and good for their country and their people is a victory, and the day will come when we see that we’ve been winning all along.