March 10, 2013 by John-Charles Duffy
I would like it understood that I am very uncomfortable with the idolization of Hugo Chavez: as a general principle, I take it as a bad sign for democracy and constitutional rights when an executive leader is elevated to the level of adoration that Chavez enjoyed in office and is now slated to enjoy posthumously.
But with that qualifier in place, I can nevertheless say “Amen” to the sentiments in this prayer that Jesse Jackson gave at Chavez’s funeral:
We pray to God today that the soul of Hugo Chavez will find peace and accept service in the kingdom. Grant him mercy and grace.
The Chavez family mourns today–comfort them. Venezuela cries today– reassure them Venezuela is not left alone.
[Nicolas] Maduro–grant him wisdom and support as he keeps hopes and dreams alive, as he picks up the baton and makes a great nation greater.
We pray God today that you will heal the breach between the U.S. and Venezuela. Yea, though we walk through the valleys and shadows of death, we fear no evil, for thou art with us. Help us forgive, redeem, and move on to higher ground.
We are neighbors. We share the same hemisphere. We play ball together. We trade resources together. We fight drugs together. We share dreams together. We’re bound by culture and environment.
Even the death of this leader–not even death–will separate us from your love, dear God. Neither heights nor depths shall separate us.
Now, Jesus, Jesús, remove our doubts and fears. Dry our eyes.
Today a great nation mourns. How do we measure a great leader? By how he treats the least of these. Hugo fed the hungry. He lifted the poor. He raised their hopes. He helped them realize their dreams.
And so today we do mourn because we’ve lost a lot. But we have a lot left: a stable government, an orderly transition.
We pray the presidents of our great nation will meet soon and find common ground. While it may be politically difficult, it’s the morally right thing to do.
Nothing is too hard for God. And so, let us rise. We fall down sometimes by our own errors. We fall down sometimes because of our fears. But we get up again because the ground is no place for a champion. The ground is no place for a champion. The ground is no place for champions.
Let there be peace between nations. Amen.