In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. – Psalm 18:6
In her book Against the Wind, Dorothee Soelle writes that we can learn much from the resistance of people who have been oppressed. For example, there was a group of political prisoners in Los Almas prison in Santiago, Chile who lived under both the threat of torture and the oppression of silence. Their families did not even know where they were or if they were still alive. They were joined by a Presbyterian pastor who had been arrested for distributing groceries sent to him by an American friend. There, in a crowded area, he conducted daily Bible study and worship for 150 prisoners. When the pastor was released, the inmates wrote their names with burned-out matches on his back. Dorothee writes, “It was November and warm outside; he was worried about perspiring. He was not searched before leaving and went straight to the Peace Committee. Most of the names of those men, who were thought to have disappeared, were still legible.”
The story reminds me of the power of a worshipping community. All of those hours of Bible study and worship had woven them together, so that when the opportunity presented itself, they knew what to do and how to do it. Study and worship can reveal the miracle of hope. God hears our cries and delivers us in ways we would never expect. Who knew that hope would come on the back of a prisoner?