Candles were lit yesterday at Interfaith Ministries in Houston. They were lit by 250 people in vigil for people across the world, and the impact of those people on our own culture and the presence of the divine among us. Or even how those people, affect our obedience to the call of a God to the voiceless.
Who are these people who we gathered to remember? The refugees. The refugees who now find themselves with one less option at this particular moment. Hopes for a new life, or freedom from persecution or danger or gangs or terrorists or desperate poverty- put on hold. They aren’t more special than others or more important than my family or more important than any other immigrants. But they are Gods children, and they are caught in the crosshairs of political identities and fear and concerns for safety. They are people whose lives matter and who we as Christians are called to welcome.
The candles were lit, prayers from many faiths were shared, and a people listen up and another people challenged. I’m glad, and humbled, to have been there.
Now, you know of course that our current president has created this with policies from an executive order. To think of it as policy is fine with me. It is a legit policy by standards of law, and you may agree or disagree with it as an American policy. But I cannot look at it from that view. I stand in Christ among his body, called to a God who doesn’t call for me to care for my country the way I should the immigrant or stranger or poor or hungry or sick or imprisoned.
(There are many other things that as policy you may agree or disagree with. You may emotionally support Republican policy or defend a Democrat policy. That’s understandable. If an immigration order or funding order are policies you agree or disagree with, I can understand that. But to tolerate bully behavior, belittling of women, mocking, or self aggrandizement…these things you should stand up to at any point regardless of whether you’re person is in charge or not.
Also, I understand there is hypocrisy. But yeah, your side is hypocritical too. So if you cry “Left” or cry “Right” and belittle or caricature or mock, you yourself fall into that trap too.)
I stand with the refugees and immigrants, not out of policy, but because of my faith.
I stand with the refugees and immigrants, not because my President has told me too, but because God has.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not out of a false sense of security, but because God never called me to care more for safety than his people.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not because they are different, but because they are like me.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not because they should be Americans, but because they are Gods people already, regardless of their faith.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not because America stands for freedom (which it does I think), but because we as faith filled people ought to stand for justice.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not because I have answers to solve their problems, but because I have much to learn from them.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not because they deserve it (and they may), but because Gods love is given with reckless abandon and is boundless.
I stand with refugees and immigrants, not because everything will be perfect when they come, but because in welcoming them as the stranger and foreigner (scripturally speaking), I am welcoming the perfect kingdom of God.
May we all see not with hate or hurt or fear or patriotism, but may we see with the faith we share that calls us to welcome, that calls us to justice, that calls us to love in the name of our God.
Candles were lit. Light yours too.