This blog is committed to proclaiming the love of God for all creation, promoting the good that translates into justice, peace and joy for all.
* To announce the kingdom of God as a present reality that manifests itself beyond religious borders.
* Denounce all kinds of oppression, prejudice and injustice.
* Promote inclusion and give a voice to those who are not heard.
* To raise awareness about the preservation of the environment and the legacy that we must leave for the next generations
Values and Principles
* The New Commandment of Christ (To love the other as He himself loved)
* Divine grace as the only way to reframe existence.
I chose to love
On June 12, 2015 we received a journalistic team from Rede Globo de Televisão in our church. His goal was to make a documentary about religious intolerance. As soon as I was contacted by the journalism director, I took on the challenge of receiving them. According to him, what would have called attention to Reina was her proposal for harmonious coexistence with any religion or social segment.
Precisely at a time when the country seems to be on the verge of unholy war, led by extremist evangelical groups, I considered that this could be a golden opportunity to show the other side. Not everyone bases his speech on hatred, prejudice, radical moralism.
I have always heard that when it comes to TV, an image speaks more than a thousand words. I felt compelled to do something that could perhaps awaken the awareness of many as to the need to rescue the central message of the gospel: love.
The first challenge would be to fill the church in full Friday at 8:30 am. To the surprise of many, our people responded to our invitation at the last minute, filling the premises of Reina do Engenho Novo, a neighborhood in the Rio de Janeiro suburb.
I invited some people to represent social segments that have been victims of intolerance, not only on the part of the churches but also on the part of society itself. After a few songs of praise and the giving of a word (both recorded by the TV cameras), I asked these people to come up to the pulpit. Among them, someone representing the LGTB community, another representing the African cults (both dressed in character), a person with special needs, a black man, a Bolivian woman who was exploited in the country, a sociologist who professed atheism and a biologist representing science. I got down on my knees and with a bowl full of water, I started to wash and kiss his feet, praying that they would forgive us for all the discrimination suffered. In the audience, tears. God’s presence was clear among us. It was as if the deep chasm that separated us was finally crossed.
The foot-washing ceremony was followed by an interview with controversial questions about the attitude that the evangelical church has adopted towards those segments.
I left the church with that sense of mission accomplished. Before, however, I posted the photos registered with my smartphone on my Facebook profile.
Upon arriving home, what was my surprise when faced with the reaction of many. I was judged, abhorred, called heretic, liberal and other adjectives that I prefer not to post here. No one was offended to see me kneeling at the feet of a person with special needs, not even at the feet of an atheist (who converted to the Lord). But, seeing myself on my knees at the feet of a “saint-mother” and a “transsexual” seemed unacceptable. There were those who said that I had knelt before Satan.
I was bombarded with questions like: Would you return the kindness and visit a candomblé terreiro? Would you attend a ceremony at a Umbanda center? Would you accept to preach in a gay church? Would you dare to go to a Gay Parade?
They even said that washing their feet meant agreeing and endorsing their beliefs and values. According to some, instead of washing your feet, I should warn you that you are on your way to hell if you do not convert to the Christian faith.
I must confess that such reactions made me deeply sad. It is hard to believe that these brothers (yes, I insist on calling them that way) are reading the same Bible as me.
The first foot-washing ceremony was performed by Jesus. The biblical text says that before Easter, “knowing Jesus that his time had come to pass from this world to the Father, as he had loved his people in the world, he loved them to the end.” Therefore, what moved him to strip naked before the scandalized eyes of the disciples and to wash their feet like any servant was nothing but love. A totally unconditional love, that is, that was independent of anything they did or did not do. Let us remember that among the disciples was Judas. When his turn came, he dared to raise his heel as if to say: If it is to wash, wash it properly. Even so, Jesus did not stop washing his feet. He loved you and loved you to the end.
How could we preach to anyone who was unwilling to welcome? And how to welcome those we don’t love? And how can we love those we are not willing to serve?
Someone showed that he was scandalized by the simple fact that we received such people in our church. For that, they shouldn’t even be accepted there, let alone having their feet washed.
If anyone is scandalized by so little, imagine if they saw Jesus praising the faith of a centurion, devoted to Roman idols, and on top of that, saying that he had never found such faith even among Jewish believers. What if they caught him in a relaxed chat with a Samaritan woman in broad daylight? What if they witnessed His brilliant defense of that woman caught in adultery, preventing it from being summarily executed in the temple courtyard?
It is time to build bridges and not to dig deep. I don’t want to see my country divided into a stupid war, which has nothing to do with a saint. Guys, more love, less bitterness, please. After all, God has entrusted us with the word of reconciliation, not condemnation. The same Spirit that acted through Martin Luther King in the United States and Mandela in South Africa, preventing their countries from being divided by segregation, is persuading men and women to lend their lips to distill His grace and love.
Unfortunately, there are many among us who have chosen to judge, discriminate, hate, but there are still so many others who, constrained by the example of Christ, have chosen to love and love until the end.