My brothers and sisters in Christ, you know that I am not one to bring politics to the pulpit. I feel it has no place in God’s House. One’s political persuasion is one’s own business. Quite frankly, it is none of my business.
However, I do feel it is my business, or should I say it is a part of my calling (a big part), to address injustices of the world head on. I cannot hold fast to Jesus’ teachings and remain silent in the face of injustices.
You, who know me well, or maybe even not so well, know how I feel about babies and children. I make no secret about it. They bring a smile to my face and my heart, and I welcome them with open arms into the worship experience. I love to hear their laughter, their chatter and even their displeasure; like when my grandson says (and not so quietly) “are we done yet?!” He sits in the back of the sanctuary and, yes, I can hear him, and my guess is that he voices what others may be thinking to themselves. These little ones are blessings to us. They are God’s gift for us to nurture, cherish and love.
These past few weeks, I have not had a smile on my face or heart. In fact, my heart is broken over the desperate cries of precious little ones as they were ripped out of the arms of their migrant parents. The anguish and desperation in their voices has reduced me to tears. This IS NOT the American way, or at least I pray it IS NOT the American way.
As a second generation American (my grandmother was an illegal stowaway from the Ukraine seeking a better way of life), I can appreciate the parents willing to risk it all in order to provide their children with the American dream. But, sadly the American dream has become a hellish nightmare for so many migrants fleeing warfare, rape, famine, drought, and drug-infested and gang-run lands.
What would we do to ensure our babies a safe, happy and prosperous home? I would imagine we, too, would take that risk and move heaven and hell to get our children to a land of freedom. As Father James Martin stated, “Seeking asylum is a human right.”
It saddens me more than words can describe as I hear people using the Bible to support such inhumane and unjust ways. The thrust of the Old and New Testaments is very clear; God’s law is to welcome migrants and refugees. Let me say that again, the Bible is clear; we are to welcome our brothers and sisters!
I guess it is easier to treat people like dirt when you say such things as “They are infesting the country,” as though they are vermin and not human beings, each with their own story to be shared. As Christians, we are called to listen and to hear their stories and to respond with love and compassion, not with putting their children in cages.
I echo and applaud Father James Martin’s words:
It is not biblical to treat migrants and refugees like animals
It is not biblical to take children away from their parents
It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger
It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws
Do not use the Bible to justify sin!
How will you respond at the end of your life when Jesus asks you, “How did you treat your brothers and sisters who were refugees and migrants?”
What can we do? We can pray, but we also need to put legs on those prayers. Locally, Holy Family Institute, located just miles away from our church, has received 50 refugee children. They have been overwhelmed with material donations, but will gladly receive our financial contributions.
Please get on board with future plans of DOING MINISTRY WITH THE MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES. We will keep you apprised as these plans unfold.
These are not just some throwaways. These are our babies; these are our brothers and sisters.