Daniel Hernandez Salazar’s “Angel” of Witness

Earlier this month I was preaching at Jeff St. Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, at long last visiting this congregation I’d heard so much about from friends Susan Taylor and Andy Loving of Just Money Advisors.  During the potluck after the service, and before a workshop on Climate Catastrophe and Watershed Discipleship, I was captivated by a tatoo on the arm of a young woman of the congregation.
It was a reproduction of the image shown above, by Guatemalan artist and photographer Daniel Hernandez Salazar.  When I asked her about it, she explained she’d worked in Guatemala with those trying to document the massacres and disappearances of thousands of people during the war in the 1980s.  The tatoo was a reminder to bear witness.    
Salazar’s images, and the story behind them, were profiled in a N.Y. Times article two years ago, which reads in part:
“For the past 15 years, [Salazar] has been guided by angels. They have become his calling card, four images of a bare-chested man with distinctly indigenous features, posed to show the country’s peculiar affliction: see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. But the fourth image has taken on a new life, depicting the angel with his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting to break the silence.  And to connect the angel to history, he made the wings from shoulder blades exhumed from a mass grave. More important, he has taken that final image, “So That All May Know,” to other places that have seen genocide and tragedy, including Bosnia, Auschwitz, Guernica and Hiroshima.”
Surely this angel hovers over our own historical moment, especially in Gaza.  May we find courage to bear witness as well.