28 Jan 2008
The burro is an essential part of life in the Southwestern Mexican State of Guerrero. This is a place where the roads are few, the mountains slopes are steep, and the green valleys are often only in the distance. It is a place where the people now known as the Nahuatl and the burro depend upon each other for their survival. The burro, … humbly carrying its master’s loads, … receives an ample supply of fodder in turn to give it strength to endure.
The burro is not alone. The pony and the mule are also prominent in Southwestern Mexico. The pony moves faster than the burro but requires more care. The mule is bigger than the burro and can carry heavier loads but sometimes it fails to obey.
Some 500 years ago, there were no burros, ponies, or mules to help with the daily toil of surviving in these mountains. There were also no goats, sheep, pigs, or chickens to provide meat for their families. This was when the Nahuatl were called Aztecs and ruled the land with a brutality that knew no bounds. They were fierce warriors with hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Their enemies were sacrificed to appease the Aztec gods. Captives were made to carry the heavy loads; thus, the burro was not needed. But then in 1521, a small band of Spanish soldiers came on horseback and by trickery and cunning quickly subdued the much more powerful Aztecs. The once proud warriors were now servants to this new master.
It was out of this servitude that the Catholic priest found a way to build churches like that of their homeland across the great ocean. Placed in the most prominent location, these buildings are now in every city and town and easily seen by all. It is always the largest building dwarfing all the rest. The priests, in their zeal to bring their new God to the new world, required the Nahuatl, the Zapateco, the Mixteco and others to build these temples. It was the priest who gave them burros to help carry the material for construction of the huge edifices.
Inside … the Spanish set up symbols of this new God. The God was much different than the gods of the Nahuatl. There was the cross with someone called Jesus still suffering as He awaited death. There was Mary His mother adorned in finery. Eventually there was a new Mary. She looked like a Nahuatl princess but called the Virgin of Guadalupe. In obedience and submission to the priests, the Nahuatl bowed to the symbols of this new God, but … all the while … they continued to secretly worship and believe their own gods.
The Catholic Church and the burro are not only symbols of the past but of the present; each is respected in its own right. The burro is what they depend upon but the Catholic Church is a place … a big building… where opulence and splendor are on display.
It can be said that on the backs of the burro, the Catholic Church was brought to the Nahuatl but Jesus was left hanging on the cross. Most claim to be Christians but few know the founder of the church … Jesus Christ.
The Nahuatl, … like the burro, … are prisoners of the past. The path to freedom seems difficult and fearful; a path they seldom tread. The Nahuatl need to be given freedom from this burden; …freedom that comes in knowing Jesus Christ personally. Jesus said in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
· Will you pray that they will hear and be taught that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
· Will you pray that they understand that no one comes to the Father but through Him?
· Will you give them the opportunity to be set free from the chains of the past?
· Will you be a part of sharing the resurrected, living Jesus with the Nahuatl?
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” … John 8:32
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