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Posada

by The Rev. Kaji Douŝa, United Church of Christ of La Mesa

Kaji Spellman2

The foreigners sang:  

 

En nombre del cielo

Les pido posada

Pues no puede andar

Mis esposa amada…

 

…and they heard in response:  

 This is not an inn

So keep going;

I cannot open;

You may be bad people.  

    You have to step back from the wall to see through it; the holes are so tightly packed that it might seem light couldn’t break through, though light does tend to find a way. Inches across, in Mexico, a large group of people gathered. They knew the other side of the wall – they’d been there before. Many had been deported from the U.S. just a few days or weeks before. Now, this place called “Friendship Park” was the closest they could get to the families they left behind in the States.  

 

No seas inhumano

Tengan caridad.

Que el Dios de los cielos

Se los premiará.  

…Your name doesn’t matter;

Let me sleep.

For I am telling you

We shall not open.  

   

    On Saturday, December 14, we sang this, the traditional Posada song. It was our first time celebrating the Posada as a congregation. The event was not available to all – the journey to Friendship Park involves a couple of miles of walking on roads inaccessible to those with limits to their mobility. Yet an intrepid group made its way to learn this tradition, to share with those who had gathered from congregations across San Diego County.  

     Posada KajiLas Posadas is a ritual celebrated across Latin America commemorating the holy family’s journey to find shelter as foreigners in Bethlehem. Families go from house to house, seeking hospitality, but are turned away until a host recognizes just who it is at their door – a holy family, the bearers of Christ.  

     Hands outstretched, we reached across the wall. The holes are elaborately intricate, very clearly designed to prevent passing anything through from side to side. Hands pressed to the wall, we could not touch our neighbors. But, Lord, we could feel them. The light made its way through. And the Spirit could not be contained.  

 

The Posada song starts:  

 

In the name of Heaven I beg you for lodging.

For she cannot walk, my beloved wife.

Don’t be inhuman; have mercy on us.

The God of the heavens will reward you for it.  

   

    Joseph’s pleading is unconvincing, and the host changes his mind only with these words: Lodging is asked of you, dear man, for just one night by the Queen of Heaven. The host could not summon a spirit of hospitality until he could envision their import, until he knew the power behind their request.  

    The church teaches and affirms that we are all created in Christ’s image, which means that we, too, bear the light of Christ. This means is that the cries of the immigrants echo the cries of the holy family. The tragedy of our celebration of the Posada was that we knew that we could not, in that moment, carry through on the Posada promise.

    In time, the Posada host welcomes the holy family – he recognized them for who they were, shifting his thinking from the realm of stranger-danger to a place of holy hospitality. It’s time for us to make the same shift.

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