The Withered Fig Tree, the Fruit of Righteousness – Rev. Dr. Javier Alanis

Rev. Dr. Javier Alanis has a special message for the first post of Latinx History Month – one grounded in his own family. Preached in chapel Mexican Independence Day (September 16, 1810), Prof. Alanis’ sermon delves into the richness of Latinx identity and what his family’s story has to say to the the story of Jesus and the fig tree. So enjoy his word, share with friends, and ¡benvenidos!

Francisco Herrera – PhD student, Interim Editor

¡Viva Mexico! 

¡Viva Mexico! 

Today is the celebration of Mexico’s Independence from Spain, a great way to kick off Hispanic History Month!  My compliments to the worship committee Y GRACIAS for inviting me to deliver today’s message.  Latinx History Month is a more inclusive term and one that I welcome even though it’s not a perfect descriptor for this month’s celebration.   So, indulge me if you will with a teaching moment.  

Back in 2000 I returned to Austin to begin teaching at LSPS.  I had just finished my doctoral exams and I had not yet started to write my dissertation.  I was invited to speak at a forum at my church on a Saturday morning with the Latinx parishioners at the church.   As I was speaking, I referred to the gathered community as Hispanic.  A parishioner raised her hand and respectfully said, “Pastor, I am not Hispanic, I am Guatemalan!  Ouch!   She taught me something that has stayed with me ever since. 

Never assume a person is Hispanic just because you know her as “Maria!” 

The term “Hispanic” was imposed on Spanish-speaking peoples by the U.S. government back at the 1970 census in order to count us and keep tabs on us!   So, I want to share with you two lessons that I have learned over the years: 

1. Never assume that someone is “Hispanic”; and…  

2. Always ask folks to self-identify so that you may learn how a people claim their own history and their own IDENTITY.   

As my colleague and professor, Dr. Eliseo Perez Alvarez who will soon join your faculty, taught me several years ago, the term Hispanic hides our indigenous, African and Asian heritage that also colors our skin, our stories and our diverse languages of all of the Americas. 

So perhaps the month should be renamed in the public forum to include all of the beautiful diversity of our creation stories. Our Latinx community is beautifully diverse and varied in its expression.  We need to hear ALL the VOICES that make up the rich fabric and mosaic of our community.   

Diversity among US Born Latinos

Enough said on naming and othering others! 

As I read the Genesis text for today, I could not help but find resonance with Joseph’s story and my own family’s story of exile and diaspora.  We have all heard the story of Joseph and his brothers; it’s a story of betrayal, of human trafficking and slavery.  The brothers sell Joseph out of spite and jealousy for their Father’s favoritism. Sort of the way my 5 older siblings treat me, their kid brother, or as the comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to say back in the 20th Century when I was growing up:  “I get no respect!”  You may have to google Rodney Dangerfield to see how truly funny he was.  

 Joseph’s story is also one of redemption and forgiveness.  It’s a story of a dysfunctional family that leaves their sojourn in Canaan and flee to Egypt to escape the famine of the land. It’s a narrative full of drama; Joseph is enslaved and mistreated and then finds favor with the Pharaoh when he correctly interprets the Pharaoh’s dream about a future scarcity in the land. The Pharaoh delivers Joseph from slavery, names him the Prime Minister and puts him in charge of the granaries of the nation.  It’s a rags to riches kind of story. In today’s reading we find Joseph at the end of his life asking his family to bury him in the land of promise.  

And here is why the story makes me think of my family. 100 years ago, my parents’ family emigrated from Mexico to south Texas. 

Mi familia…

It was the time of the Mexican Revolution that lasted 10 years; my parents told me their story, an oral history that I wrote about in my dissertation when I was a student here. My grandparents did not want to leave their ancestral home, but they were forced to leave by the economic turmoil of the Mexican civil war.  My father would tell us that his family was hungry which forced them to take whatever they could on their person and cross the border into Texas.  He would also tell us:   El Pueblo tenía sed y hambre por justicia!  The people were thirsty and hungry for justice!  On the frame, my father is the young boy standing behind my grandfather Felipe.  

The U.S. Mexico border had crossed the family some sixty years before when Texas used to be Mexico.  Now they were aliens in their own land. My father was so attached to his tierra, his land of birth that he never became an American citizen; he remained a Mexican citizen until his death at 95 years. When he died my brothers and I hired a band of mariachis to play at his burial site, something not uncommon in Mexican burials.  The mariachis played the popular Mexican song, Mexico Lindo y Querido. 

The lyrics of the song go like this:  

Mexico Lindo y querido, Si muero lejos de ti, 

diles que estoy dormido y que me traigan aquí.  


Mexico, dear and beloved, If I die far from you,

tell them that I am asleep and bring me back here to rest in Mexico.”  

The song was a moving tribute for a man who had lived his life and raised his family in a land where his native language was subjected to a more powerful one.   

My mother on the far left…

My mother was born in south Texas in 1913 just three months after her parents came across from Mexico.  She too would tell us how her family was forced to emigrate because of the famine and the danger of violence to the family.  Se va poner feo, the people would say.  It’s going to get ugly.  So, they joined the many other Mexicans who crossed the border during that period to join family members who were already living in south Texas.  If you are looking at the frame, my mother is the 2 year- old standing on the chair.  She lived to be 102 and was the church’s and the town’s oral historian.  

I am sure that many of you have similar stories that you have collected from your families of origin; your ancestors may have come through Ellis Island or Angel Island on the West Coast, or perhaps Galveston Island or other places of entry or conquest as in the case of the borderlands, Puerto Rico and Hawaii as a Hawaiian student at the Episcopal Seminary taught me.   He carries the painful memory of that conquest and unjust takeover of the islands wherever he goes.  Many of us can relate to that kind of existential angst as we try to figure out who we are in our own country of origin, or what space we can safely inhabit without being subjected to deportation or family separation.  Joseph’s story is intriguing to me because it contains the elements of family and community trauma that finds resonance in many of our own stories.

site of detention centers in Texas – very close to where I grew up

In Texas where I live there are detention centers that keep people unjustly enslaved much like Joseph was when he was in Egypt; There is family separation at the border that keep mothers and children apart from each other.  They are placed in cages similar to what Joseph may have experienced when his alienness was a mark of shameful otherness.  It would take trust in God and a gift of holy visionary discernment to free Joseph from his cage.  It would take a condition of food insecurity to bring about the reconciliation with his family.  But Joseph can somehow see the good out of bad situation. As he indicates to his brothers in the narrative, what they meant for harm, God intended to use for the salvation of many; that is to say, God takes a bad situation and turns it around for good.  

God redeems the tragic dysfunctional family system because that is the nature of holy redemption.  God redeems what humans intend for harm; we see the fruit of it when Joseph forgives his brothers and provides for his family in Goshen where they will multiply and be fruitful in Egypt, the powerful nation of the day.  

I hope that one day soon we can say the same for the asylum seekers at the U.S. Mexico border, our siblings in Christ who are suffering the condition of criminalized otherness for being poor, for fleeing violence in their native countries and for being fearful of their persecution from organized criminal gangs.  Many people of faith reach out to them with food, medicines, hygiene care kits, and advocacy for humane treatment as a human right.  There is a group at the border called:  Angry Tías and Abuelas, Angry Aunties and Grandmothers

…a group of justice-oriented women who meet the asylum seekers in the middle of the bridge between the two countries and take food and supplies to the many who wait for a chance to enter the promise land of the north. These women and the men who help them are the signs of hope-filled redemption; they gather with people of different faith traditions; they band together to form communities of conscience who speak truth to power by their presence at the bridge.  These are folks who are willing to use their bodies as protest signs before the bulldozers that tear up sacred ancestral land in order to construct border walls to keep the asylum seekers out.  These women and men are visionaries who see and hear the holy in the most squalid of conditions and interpret for the church and the nation what Holy redemption looks like at the border.  

The Mellenbruch family.

100 years ago, my family received this same kind of care from a German family who reached out to them with their healing arts during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, just like the one we are going through only worse.

The Mellenbruch family reached out to the Alanís and Treviño families to nurse them back to health; the Mellenbruchs were the holy visionaries compelled by the Gospel to cross borders of cultural and linguistic difference in the name of the Crucified and Risen Christ.  

They were the faithful visionaries bearing fruits of righteous action in the name of the Gospel.  They brought salvific healing to Mexican families in exile and founded the church where I was baptized and confirmed, ordained and installed as a professor at the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest.   

Joseph has Been Recognized by His Brothers – Marc Chagall

The Joseph story contains the fruitful figs of forgiveness, redemption, healing, and reconciliation that Jesus was referring to in the Gospel when he cursed the tree that would not bear fruit.  Joseph desired to be buried in a land of promise, a land of rich soil where fig trees do not dry up but bear much fruit such as the fig trees of achievement and contribution to the common good.  We the church bring our own Gospel figs of love, forgiveness, acceptance and healing arts to people of faith harmed by the rhetoric of unwelcomed alienness.  

We follow the Crucified and Risen One who forgave and redeemed our own alienness from ourselves and from each other and made us a Familia en Cristo, one family with many names who heal others and bear the Gospel figs of justice in His Name. 

So here is my final lesson:  If there is one thing that I have learned from the Joseph story and the Gospel over the many years of my ministry at the border, it is this:  The land of promise of the north is what we make of it in His name by God’s grace and the bread and tortillas that we share at the table are the work of a people of faith who till the soil of justice living so that no one goes hungry and all eat from the walls that have been turned into tables of welcome.  

May the people of God join me in saying, Amen.  


Rev. Dr. Javier Alanis

After his graduation from LSPS in May, 1992, Jay was ordained and served Trinity Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas for four years.  During that time he chaired the Multicultural Committee of the Southwest Texas Synod and also served on the board of the Multicultural Commission of the ELCA. He was then invited to pursue doctoral studies at LSTC and graduated with a Ph.D. in June, 2002.  Jay joined the faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago at its extension program in Austin in January of 2000, a program in partnership with Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.

Jay’s academic interests include contextual borderland theology, Latino/a spirituality and the ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr.  His doctoral dissertation focused on the history of the imago Dei (image of God) construct as a venue for welcoming the stranger in an alien land.  In 2006 and 2019, he was invited to be a part of a panel that examined the subject of border walls at an international conference held in Berlin and at the Lutheran center in Wittenberg, Germany.  He was a keynote speaker at the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly in April, 2009 and the guest preacher at the Southwestern Texas Synod Assembly in May, 2009.   He has been a presenter and preacher at various church forums and assemblies.  He has also taught from his dissertation topic at ISEDET seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina and at Holden Village in Washington State.  He has been appointed to serve on the board of Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. For a more comprehensive view of his bio, you are invited to visit the LSPS website or his personal website.

My Emmanuel, The End of Expectation – Sergio Edson Rodriguez

Continuing in our series, “What I am waiting for this Advent”, we have a poignant-yet-pointed submission by Vicar Sergio Edson Rodriguez. In a season where so many words like “joy,” “hope,” even “justice” are mere buzz-words used and abused by those whose lives aren’t dependent on their fulfillment, he scolds white progressive Christianity for commodifying these words just as the nation has commodified the holy season of Christmas. Yet, too, he speaks of God’s promise to defy every boundary and every border and every wall in our lives once and for all – and it is a vision perfectly in line with the impending arrival of el Dioscito, baby Jesus. Read, comment, and share!

Francisco Herrera – Ph.D. student, Interim Blog Editor


advent-wait-for-it

What am I waiting for this Advent?

To mature.

Of course from the outset, this desire for maturity seems quite pedantic and fanciful as one does not simply wait for maturity to occur as a commodity but rather is inducted into a well-ripened openness to life. However, I feel quite justified in yearning for an existence that touches the core of all that is in the scope of this universe that is Dioscito’s[1]. Too often, the openness to life, this acknowledgement of the pervading presence of God in our cosmos, is commodified in this particular season with clarion with calls to Christian generosity, or the so-called war on Christmas kind of culture, or secular consumerism. In all of these movements this season, openness to life means how disposed are you to stuff; stuff that people need, that people want, that define people.

If you want that sort of stuff, that’s fine and dandy but perhaps I might be quite persnickety in wanting more out of life than simply stuff and how that stuff makes me feel better about my circumstances. Rather, I want to be drawn into the core of life that God pours out into this world; that God suffers in this world; that God cries out with a joyful shout within this world filled with suffering, hopelessness, addiction, and pain.

I want to be open to seeing the face of God who has rushed head long into human existence and has made a home there. For God’s home is precisely in places where abundant life seems to eke out in glimpses of grace.

So, I propose for my own sanity this Advent/Christmas/whatever-you-want-to-call-it to center my anxiety driven search for maturity along several  fins [2]or if you prefer along several telos [3]grounded in the mystery of this God who has decided to become un invitado [4]to our fiesta[5] that is life.

El Fin de Esperanza*[6]

I hope for the end of Hope*.

We hope for a better tomorrow.

We hope for the day when God shall come again.

I hope that this line at Wal-Mart isn’t too long this Black Friday.

I find this word to be quite a vacuous sound in the ears of many who think that hope itself has become a place word for inactivity. That Hope itself is a word that is closed to the openness of life because it ultimately knows the end of the story; there’s a happily ever after; the end. It does not struggle with the ambiguities of this world mired with questions of food scarcity, intimate partner violence, mood disorders, and so on and so forth.

mexican

As a Latinx[7] Vicar, I find this pie-in-the-sky hope to be insignificant in the realities of those who struggle to make ends meet, who find the deck stacked against them and who do not see the so-called Christian generosity towards the dregs of society as a sign of good-will towards humanity. It is this hope that must come to an end. The Parousia of the Son of Man (Matt 24:37) means for me the openness of time towards the uncertainty of God’s presence. This ends our hope for a fantastical reality to come. Instead, I find that the Parousia silences the inquietude of my anxious hope with the faint movement of God hovering, living, breathing into our most insignificant of realities. Esperanza[8] ends where the darkness of the coming of God overshadows the ambiguities of this world.

El Fin del Siglo*

I anticipate the acabamiento[9] of the age*. Unto the ages of ages. World without end. The end of our play. Fin. There’s this buzz word that is so common amongst theologians and seminarians as almost to make it synonymous with some form of theological schooling; prolepsis: the in-breaking of the Kingdom upon this earth has been proleptically seen and tasted on the cross and from the cross. Frankly, I find this particular word to be lacking all sort of vibrancy and dynamic engagement with the realities of what it means to be church today. Prolepsis conveys a sterile almost pharmacological notion that undermines the passion, the gusto, the flavor of life itself in favor of a more rigid construction of western liturgical tastes. I find that prolepsis, while helpful in explicating one’s position on paper, needs to be fine-tuned to how it appears in the life of people who need to hear this dimension shattering reality.

As a Latinx Lutheran, why must I wait for full reconciliation to occur in the distant future?

Why are there only glimpses of the future when we need Christ and Christ’s kingdom now to topple over the sin of this age that enslaves folx to shackles of hatred, greed and profit? When John the Baptist chastises the Pharisees and Sadducees, he paints a picture of the shifting of weights in the balance of God’s refining presence (Matt 3:10); God’s ax is swinging now, the fruits are ripe now, let the fire burn. El siglo ends not as a visage of things to come but in the fires of a God who’s presence is a swinging ax and a refining fire.

justicia.jpg

El Fin de Justicia*

I yearn for the conclusion of Justice*. Liberty and justice for all. Law and Order. Social justice. Above all the words I have thus uttered, I yearn with the passion of a thousand suns for this word to finally be put to rest. Rather than produce actual substantive changes that one could touch, taste, disfrutar[10], justice stands currently as a litmus test within the church as a marker of true prophetic zeal and of the advent of a younger more progressive leadership. How loud, often and strongly one clamors for justice is often the sign of someone who’s got it going on in the more white progressive circle of Lutheranism.

What will endure after the last poster of protest is thrown into the recycle bin or the latest Instagram Photo clamoring for justice is scrolled by fingers twitching for more images to appease its very hunger for feel-good moments? Seeing, walking, cleansing hearing, raising, bringing, Jesus paints us an image of a reality that moves and shakes the very foundation of a world mired in brokenness and oppression. He wasn’t just shouting for a world to be turned upside down but for the very lives of people to be made anew. Let us see, walk, be cleansed, hear, be raised and be brought into God’s world that abides against the tides of death. Hay vida! Hay amor! Hay gozo! Asi termina la justicia.[11]

El Fin de Manana*

I wait for tomorrow to cease* and for the day to endure. Growing up, I hated saying hasta luego[12] to all my family members at the wee hours of the morning as our family fiestas came to a close. In my heart, I ached with an unease about the whole affair because deep inside mi ser[13], I had to confront the mundane hours of the coming day. The world seemed to spin on an endless axis of ends; the end of good times, of life, of relationships, of convivir[14], of loves.

What I felt then I know now to be true that the weight of this cycle of life and death, togetherness and separateness, has given way to a more enduring time. “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus…they shall name him Emmanuel”(Matthew 1:23).

sagrada.jpg

From the darkness of the womb, the mystery of the endless convivir in the midst of pain and suffering that is Dioscito with us is made manifest. El Fin de Manana comes not in a day of cataclysmic bang but in the birth pangs of life.


sergeSergio Rodriguez is a word and sacrament candidate in the Southwestern Texas Synod and is a M.Div student at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Currently, he is a Synodically Authorized Minister at St. Paul’s Square Ministries (St. Paul Lutheran-Karnes CitySt. Paul Lutheran-Nordheim).


[1] A vernacular expression common in Mexican-American communities with many meanings. Combining the Spanish word for God – Dios – with the suffix –ito suggesting something intimate or small, it can either be an way of saying “God” that is more gentle and familiar, or is also at times used to express the baby Jesus, the sweet and tender “little” God.

[2] fin – “end” in Spanish.

[3] telos – Greek for “end” or “conclusion/culmination.”

[4] invitado – a guest, literally “invited one”.

[5] fiesta – party/festival/celebration.

[6] In the following sections – subtitles ending with an * will be followed with their translations immediately afterwards, also marked with an *

[7] Latinx – a contemporary way to say a word commonly used to describe people in the United States who are descended from the peoples of Latin America, Latina/Latino, but ending it with an ‘x’ so as to be inclusive of non-binary people, as well as more generally gender-inclusive.

[8] esperanza – hope.

[9] acabamiento – the termination or end of.

[10] disfrutar – to enjoy.

[11] Spanish – “There is light! There is love! There is Life! That’s how justice ends!”

[12] hasta luego – “see you later”.

[13] mi ser – my being.

[14] convivir – living together.

Satis Est in Exile: Queer Latinx Reflections Over the Augsburg Confession – Sergio Edson Rodriguez

Our final reflection on Pride Month and Lutheran theology, we have a fascinating piece by Sergio Edson Rodriguez – a latinx, synodically authorized minister in south Texas, and seminarian at Wartburg Theological Seminary. But as a gay Tejano living along la frontera (the borderlands between the United States and Mexico) Minister Rodriguez’s need for grace was very different than that of Luther’s. His exploration of this difference, mixed with his personal story, is the subject of this week’s post, and it is a marvelous one. So please, read, comment, and share!

Francisco Herrera – PhD student and Interim Blog Editor


la-bamba-victoria-de-almeida.jpg
“La Bamba” – Victoria de Almeida

 

This might sound quite odd to most of you but if I had not discovered the liberating message words of Satis Est in the Confesio, I would be stuck in the closet, living an unhappy life of machismo and self-loathing.

As the son of two Mexican immigrants on this side of La Frontera  in the Rio Grande Valley, I grew up in an environment of ridged societal norms and work ethic based off of hay que sufrir. I was to be an hombre, a macho, a hardworking man who gave up everything for his wife and kids. I was to honor la familia and take care of mis padres all the while conquering the hearts (y honor) of many senoritas. And so when I was in the fifth grade, I started to notice my own eyes following the movements of many of my male classmates and my heart yearned to be together with my male best friend. What did this mean for me knowing what my abuelos, tios and papa week after week taught me about what it meant to be a hombre? What would happen to my relationship with my papa if he knew I started to have these odd feelings? I saw how my papa struggled to provide for our family in his construction jobs, how he rehearsed his answers to border patrol agents, how he showered my sister and I with such tender affection that I could not fear losing his love. So, I didn’t tell him.

Yet how could I stop being myself, a small, timid, passive child who at the drop of a hat would bawl his eyes out? Since I was used to being the butt of many jokes, being called Maricón for starts, I decided at a fairly young age to bury myself in the thin veneer of sports, clubs, music and video games as I attempted to make sense of who I was and what I was feeling.

maricon.jpg
Translation: “They called me ‘fag’ in high school.” Video here.

I grew to loathe the deep inclinations of my heart as puberty increased my dissatisfaction with my nascent sexuality. It was at this time that I stopped attending la Misa at Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, TX because I could not see how any institution could tell me how to think or how not to be true to myself. And with this severing of my affiliation, the ax fell upon other identity markers of my youth as I struggled to make sense of my own beliefs and feelings: Español, followed by my own hatred of La Raza.

I was a Maricón and I didn’t feel that neither my father or the church understood what it meant when I longed to be loved by another man like me. So when it came time to go to college, I took the decision to go far away from mi familia y la raza at Baylor University. Finally, I would be among folks who would think to some degree like me; rational, liberal and etc… Of course I did not realize at the time that I was going to a conservative school with conservative classmates and required religion courses.

Again like in my childhood, I became the butt of many jokes but this time these really stung me; go back where you came from, wetback. These years of college made me yearn for the familiar rhythm of life where I could live and breathe the same air as my antepasados did as they toiled the contours of the North Mexican soil. So, I decided then to recover what I was able to as I studied in Waco; my Roman Catholic faith. So I returned back to the bosom of La Virgen de Guadalupe even though I knew that if I were to pursue the calling I had in my heart, that I would be celibate. But at that time, I rationalized the entire process. I would be like El Padrecito, like Cantinflas

cantiflas.jpg
Promo poster for the film”El Padrecito.” or in English “The Good Priest.”

Luchando – fighting and struggling – for the marginalized of society. I would be a blessing to my papa y mama because I would be closer to God on their behalf.

But more so, I would finally win the battle over my self-loathing over my sexuality and ethnicity because the gracious merits of Christ would enable me to win my victory over these powers of wickedness.

La Virgen would enable me to win the crown of victory through my ministry. I would no longer be a queer disappointment but to be loved with all the crosses heaped upon me.

And so I began the sleepless nights, the scruples in, within and under Confession and Contrition, the utterances of a laundry list of litanies with the particular caveat of helping me not commit a mortal sin. But no matter what, I always found myself impeded from taking la hostia because deep down inside I felt a pull drawing me deeper and deeper into the pit of resentment, resentment because I knew that I hated being a maricón. With a deep sorrow weighing me down, I would leave la misa at St. Peter’s Student Center in Waco, TX with deep regret for not having tasted the sweet meal of salvation. This cycle came to a halt during a my senior year in college.

One Tuesday afternoon as I arrived to my apartment after class, I broke down. I broke down because enough was enough of this charade. I was tired of hating myself for being attracted to men and then almost breaking out in a cold sweat because I might have or not committed a mortal sin.

I just wanted grace. I just wanted love. I wanted Dioscito to look at me with tender eyes and hold me, hold me with a love that unconditionally accepts me just as I am.

Suddenly an odd thought came to mind; perhaps Dr. Luther was correct.

El-día-que-comprendí-la-gracia-de-Dios-1140x760.jpg

See for years, I had a zeal for the Roman Catholic faith that I attempted to do whatever it took to convert people back to Holy Mother church. So during the semester I broke down, I finished Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand for my History of Protestantism class. Here was a man who like me was seen in such a horrendous light and who also yearned for God as I did. Here was a man who loved his wife and children so tenderly that I found myself back in the arms of my own papa with every passing description of Luther’s love for his son, Hans. His message of justification by grace through faith warmed my heart; God in Jesus Christ unconditionally held me, a Queer Latino in his loving familia. Immediately, I phoned my only Lutheran friend with the desire to learn more about the Lutheran faith. The Book of Concord was the road he pointed me to; the road to Wittenburg. Quickly, I ran to the library and seized upon the Tappert edition and turned to the Augsburg Confession; the first Lutheran Symbol…

luther rose.jpg
The Luther Rose

I devoured each article with such a hunger that could only be explained as my own personal Pentecost moment. There it was my vida, my faith, my hope that I would never again lose my cultura y my sexuality. La Misa was celebrated. La Virgen retained. La Hostia to be tasted with faith. La familia and ministry pursued together as sacred. But above all, God viewed me with the eyes of mercy and new life, me a Queer Latino hijo de imigrantes from la Frontera. Through God’s son, I felt my self-loathing melt away and give way to a life in the company of people like me.

Ya llegue. Satis Est. – I had made it. It (I) was enough

Even now as a Queer Latinx Luterano vicario (Latinix Lutheran vicar), I lean into my own encounter with the living God that Melanchthon and Luther proclaimed whenever I encounter other Queer Latinx folk who yearn for a place and a word that wrapped them in unconditional mercy.

As I look towards La Frontera and see the beautiful faces of la Raza struggling to come over to this country, I can not help but see in their lives, my own life. Their hopes as my hope. Their own struggles as my own. God’s grace for them as God’s grace for me.

pride


sergeSergio Rodriguez is a word and sacrament candidate in the Southwestern Texas Synod and is a M.Div student at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Currently, he is a Synodically Authorized Minister at St. Paul’s Square Ministries (St. Paul Lutheran-Karnes City; St. Paul Lutheran-Nordheim).