My sister Amy began a new job in Chicago, which is about five hours away from her husband and two young children. Fortunately, the whole family will be together soon as the rest will be moved to Chicago in just a week. Though for five-year-old Piper a week is like an eternity. She is struggling and the other night was crying, really sobbing over the phone “I want my mom”. Her heart and soul cries are real but so is the fact that Piper will soon be reunited with her mom, can call and facetime her mom now, and is safe and secure in a home with her dad and little brother.
Piper’s cries struck my soul for a different reason. This situation drove home the deeper pain and deeper cries of children separated from their parents and put in cages. We call them immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers who are also our brothers and sisters and fellow human beings.
The current situation at our Southern border speaks to a very serious moral crisis in our country, lack of family values, and disconnect from faith values. I appreciate the words of our ecumenical partners on the matter. One voice is Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, Elizabeth Eaton. She writes “Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.” We also stand in the long tradition of scripture. The Old Testament tradition speaks throughout of a welcome the foreigner and stranger as a native among you. We meet in the Gospels Jesus who welcomes the little children and who says when we welcome the stranger we in fact welcome Jesus. Or for example, Paul’s letter to the Romans in expressing faith values saying “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). Let us join in prayer and action…
• Let us pray for families who are separated.
• Let us pray for those seeking refuge, such as our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, where many Moravians reside. We received word from the Unity (name for the worldwide Moravian Church) that the people of Nicaragua are living in the midst of violent unrest. The current crisis began with the slashing of pensions by the government erupting in protests leaving 170 dead and many others injured. Many are fleeing the country as refugees. We are asked by our sisters and brothers to pray for peace.
• Let us reach out to our elected officials to express our concerns, and values we hold as people of faith.
• Let us consider how we can welcome the stranger among us and be a sanctuary for those who are needing safety and rest.
In Christ, Pastor Marian