I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It grieves me that I am out of the country and unable to be with you for this important time of prayer for our brother, Max Villatoro, Gloria, his wife, their children Anthony, Edna, Angela, Aileen and their congregation Torre Fuerte. Know that I am with you in spirit.
As some of you may know, I have been serving as Max’s mentor during his period of licensing as he prepares for ordination. I have walked closely with Max during these past years. Indeed I have learned a great deal from him in terms of how one places one’s whole life in the hands of God as a servant of Jesus whatever one is facing. I have come to know Max as a man of integrity, humility and wisdom. Even the implication of Max as someone who is need of detention is unthinkable to me.
As we join in prayer for Max, I also call us to pray for his captors. With Jesus we pray, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” In Max’s detention, may we understand that our struggle is not with flesh and blood. We struggle against the “principalities, against the powers, against the rulers of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) It is these powers that blind those who live by fear in this age, who deny the power of the cross to remove all the barriers of hostility that divide people. In being deceived by these powers, they deny that in the cross, Jesus accomplished everything necessary for the reconciliation of all things. The grain of the universe is not moving toward nationalistic isolationism. World history is moving irreversibly toward a time when all tribes and peoples and languages and nations are joined together as one people before the throne of God and the One seated at his right hand. This vision reveals the manifold wisdom of God for all people.
So you are gathered to pray in defiance of the principalities, powers and rulers of this age who have masked this truth. We pray that God will deliver Max with a strong arm, with signs and wonders, so that all will see our witness to the will of God revealed through the power of the cross to the rulers of this age. We pray for Max’s release as a sign that our God reigns over every power on the earth, under the earth, and above the earth, forever.
David Boshart Executive Conference Minster