BY BERLIN GUERRERO*
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 27, August 12-18, 2007
When a pastor is in prison
his ministry is not impaired;
the bars and walls
are only futile attempts
to cut his connections to the world
beyond the state curtain.
is limited only to the physical body
and never to his spirit;
transcending the man-made prison
he is ever connected to the Source.
He remains a priest —
meditating on the liberating Gospel
together with fellow prisoners,
they come before the God of freedom and justice.
He remains a prophet —
seeing the truth,
exposing the crookedness of the prison
meant to straighten persons
pointing out the negligence and faults of the court system
which add up to injustice already done
to the poor and the oppressed.
His understanding and skill of pastoral care
is deepened and honed
in the countless narratives
of human frailty, failure, and hopelessness
where the only the spoken language
is that of forgiveness, love and hope.
He becomes a healer —
of the sick and broken
-a sea of humanity, its will defeated and dying.
His touch caresses the hardened heart
and calms the troubled soul.
His ears are attuned
to the whisper pleas
and unspoken prayers
of the remorseful, lost and heavy-laden.
His voice echoes
God’s message of redemption.
in a pit of forsakenness
and a ravine of damnation.
He is humbled in finding himself
among the wicked and downtrodden
which reminds him
of his own imperfection.
He treats each inmate as a child of God
invited to partake in Christ’s feast
and into God’s reign
in the here and now.
of the concrete prison cell.
Christ is enfleshed
through the pastor’s acts
in the redeemed and redemptive community
he prayerfully works to bring about
within the wall and iron bars
of the cursed state prison.
June 21, 2007
Posted by Bulatlat
*Berlin Guerrero, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and a leader of the party-list group Bayan Muna (People First), was abducted by police in Biñan, Laguna on May 27 and was tortured for several hours before ending up in detention at Camp Pantaleon Garcia, Imus, Cavite. He was detained for weeks in Bacoor, Cavite before being transferred to Trece Martires City. He is currently facing trial for trumped-up rebellion charges.