Political corruption. Recession. Crime.
Seems to be all the talk about Rio these days. However, after my recent visit down there, I believe the wonder that once created all the buzz, never left.
From Leblon to Copacabana, the walk along the waters merely takes your breath away and fills your lungs with the refreshing sea salt air. In the mountains above, we gaze over to the figure who we ever thank for each breath we take. Christ the Redeemer stands tall over the clouds overlooking all of creation. The streets are filled with life. As we walk through these streets passing churrascarias– a Brazilian barbeque-style restaurant– or samba clubs as well as the infamous “Girl from Ipanema” restaurant, we feel a sense of fellowship, authenticity, and sparks of hope.
To the right, we see a man holding a can with a few reais (the Brazilian currency) and a dog without a leash sleeping by his side, and to the left, we see a middle-aged woman with the brightest of all watches and jewelry walking past the man as she speaks Portuguese on the phone. My heart sinks down a bit. However as I look back to my right, I see a smile filled with hope and gratitude as the woman’s little boy runs over from behind offering what little left he had of his sandwich.
The beauty in the brokenness is here. It thrives in Rio. The hope I crave each day of my life floods the streets of Rio. It may not be perfect or practical hope, but I am still drawn. I want the authenticity of this community that has nothing of this world to thank for but merely leans on Him for fulfilment.
Yes, Rio is suffering and basically in the worst mess we have seen yet. But have we entered their communities? Have we been called to love and care for one another? I believe that the beauty in this brokenness is something that is a must-see no matter what we’ve perceived on this side of the equator.