Philippians 1:3 King James Version (KJV)
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.
Eagleman, David. Sum (p. 23). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition
On February 14, 1981, over 50 people from the small pueblo of El Higueral in the mountains of El Salvador suffered their first death at the hands of the Salvadoran military. Driven from their village in a predawn attack, the people fled to the banks of the nearby river Río Júte where they were mercilessly cut down – men, women, children. Many can be traced thru their names to existing families – the Avelars, the Abregos, the Recinos. Some are known only by their first name: Domingo, Manuelito, Maura.
Every year there is a celebration of remembrance for these people. Their names are painted on the wall of the church, perhaps on the watertower, or a sign, where the weather will erode and erase the names overtime. It is in this way the community tries to remember. It becomes harder every year. Most of the people in El Higueral were not alive in 1981, so the people behind the names are not personal to them.
One of the reasons the community wanted to twin with Saint Andrew was to ensure that their struggle and memories were not forgotten. Dozens of delegations from Saint Andrew have visited and listened to the accounts, some first hand, of the war. Those of us who have not visited have learned from those who have. A mural was painted in their church sanctuary by an artist from Saint Andrew, depicting the river where so many perished. On the communion table this week is plaque, a duplicate of one in the church in El Higueral, displaying the names of those lost. Find a name on the plaque and commit it to memory. Light a candle for the person behind that name. Let’s help keep their memory alive.
"You, O Lord, remember each breath, each life, each name. To those who have been exiled, you promise homecoming. To those who have died, you promise new life. To those who have been wronged, you promise justice. Not one soul is lost, for you hold them all. Let these names be inscribed on our hearts, so that their story may yet live and lend light to the reign of love you are building among us. Amen."
Jerry Daugherty is long time member of Saint Andrew and sometimes traveler to El Salvador. He is married to Dianne and father to Rev McKinna who had a hand in this devotional.