Yesterday was to be the day when finally the Catalan situation in Spain would return to normal. October 1: independence referendum (deemed constitutionally illegal). Thousands of companies have moved headquarters, the Catalan parliament dissolved, with direct rule from Madrid imposed. A number (still) imprisoned, the former (next?) president in exile in Brussels. Legal elections on December 21 returned some shifts, but basically nothing changed. Yesterday (Jan 30th) was the final piece in the resolving (did I write revolving?) process. The president for the government would be installed and off we would travel as one happy family into the future.
The spanner in the works was that the only candidate was Carles Puigdemont. The former president who has been in Brussels for the past months. So here we are a lock up situation. The speaker for the new parliament, Roger Torrent (pro-indepedence and has handled himself with dignity throughout), announced that any inauguration will wait saying that Puigdemont is the legitimate candidate. Tuesday morning just hours before the due time he said:
We don’t accept anyone telling us that the Catalans have voted incorrectly because we didn’t do what they wanted.
Neither the [Spanish government] nor the constitutional court decides who will be president; that’s for the democratically elected members of parliament to decide.
In response to the situation Mariano Rajoy said that any attempt to invest Puigdemont would constitute a clear violation of the constitutional court’s ruling. The warning given is certainly not veiled. In a media interview yesterday he said:
The speaker and those who support him need to be very aware of the consequences they could face.
Our personal response (Gayle and I) is to pray not simply for an unlocking, but a deep healing. When we travelled in mid-Autumn we came to one situation that both physically was a city divided and divided at a social level, and as we stood on a bridge between the two sides we asked for angels to come and sew up the divide, sensing that somehow in the immediate this was a task beyond where people can go at this point of time. That though will shift.
The genuine bridge-builders have to accept that the third way is the way that opens the proponents of such a way to be trampled on from both sides – such is the nature of a bridge. In the short term there will be political gainers when divisive wounds are opened up. Two years ago I had a dream before the national elections of candidates in their lanes from right to left running the race. The leader of a party that did not fare too well was the one in the dream I knew I had to put all my effort in to catch and prevent him grasping a pillar (establishment) the result of which would mean he would not only have made his mark but strongly re-established the status quo. At the time the outcome for his party was not so impressive… but now they are flourishing in the current conflict.
The answer is not to patch a wound up, hoping it will go away… but the process of healing is a dangerous one.
At the beginning of this year the 2 Cor. 12:12 proclamation of Paul that the signs of an apostle were done among them with great patience has impacted us. Patience is not inactivity, it is not passivity. Patience can only flourish on hope. Hope is that vision of the future, it is the cradle in which faith grows (faith is the substance of what we hope for). In many languages ‘to wait’ and ‘to hope’ are the same. True waiting is hope. It is waiting and acting because of a sure knowledge. The apostolic must be marked by patience. The seeds of the gospel of a new order for God’s world means we have to stay focused and can wait for a generation, a century or more.
Walk the land, hear the ancient prayers
echoes still resonating
disturbing the air.
Travel more silently, let the sound become clear
not a sound of despair
nor a sound of ‘listen to me’
but a sound… a sound that was heard long ago
the sound that marked an arrival in the Garden of God.
That sound still travels
still flies on the wings of the ancient prayers
holding back the chaos
even the chaos of Babylon’s order
the deception of Mammon’s reasonable voice.
Those prayers hold back
call for a people
weak and trembling yet not shaken
nor proud as they make no claim to greatness.
Such are those who hear the ancient prayers
who cautiously take their place not knowing
if they qualify nor if they can make a difference to a world order that accelerates by day
and continues by night toward
the goal of rewarding the powerful and punishing the weak while hiding
its ravenous appetite to devour one and all until all
that was deemed good,
the image of the invisible is obliterated.
Yet the ancient prayers are calling again
the echo is clearer now, for there is a silent moment when those who pause
who wait with hope and hope as they wait will know that
there is space to be invisible yet through their invisibility will be revealed
the image that points to the future and
slowly but surely pulls that future ever closer.
Those who wait will mount up
they will be renewed as they live in the now
yet not for today.
Those ancient prayers
– listen and ponder –
do they come from ancient times past
or from tomorrow?