The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
Tears came to my eyes as we sang, for two competing ideas were bumping into each other in my mind.
First, gratitude welled up in my heart and teared out my eyes, for I am that “erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.” Jesus died for me, and I have been set free from the bondage of that sin.
Second, my thoughts flew ahead to Sucre, Bolivia, where we’ll be going in a couple weeks. Many people there live in fear, not in gratitude. They worship Pachamama (Mother Earth), who they believe rewards or punishes people based on their rituals, festivals and sacrifices. They also fear other spirits, as described in the Area Handbook for Bolivia by Thomas Weil and others—
“The [Indian] world is densely populated with spirits that are constantly influencing everyday events. They are related to and explain his economic state (in griculture), his health, his personal relations with other members of his community, and the fearful unknown. Most commonly, spirits are place spirits, living in the air, in or around a natural phenomenon, or wandering with no fixed dwelling. . . .I yearn for many to put their complete trust in Christ, and be freed from these fears. Would you join me in praying and fasting for them over the next few weeks?
“Other supernaturals include ghosts, demons, the souls of the dead, and Roman Catholic saints. These spirits are considered ambivalent, if not malevolent, in their attitude toward the Indian, concerned with his affairs but not necessarily with his welfare. For this reason the individual must attempt to remain on good terms with them through propitiation and the use of magicians and diviners who can speak with or interpret the actions of the supernaturals for him. . . .
“God and Christ, as the Indian envisions them, are white men who are not interested in his affairs and who are potentially threatening.”