By Pastor Manda
I don’t have to tell you about the immigration crisis at our southern border. If you’ve consumed any amount of news, you know something of the story and you may have even formed an opinion on what we should be doing about who is and is not allowed to become a US citizen or live within our nation’s borders.
I don’t care to influence your thoughts on that today. I don’t have an agenda that you should think one way or another about immigration. I do have a concern for how we treat others, no matter what our relationship with them is.
We usually talk about the way we treat one another and cite the golden rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Which we have adopted and adapted from Matthew 7.12 “In everything you do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” He says this as part of a longer sermon – the same one that contains the beatitudes (blessed are..) and a bunch of other teachings that you would recognize. They were amazed because Jesus taught these familiar things in a way that they hadn’t heard before. And while he was upholding the laws, he was also changing our relationship to them.
After this sermon, the next three things Jesus does in the story are:
For this reason, Peace Lutheran Church and Border Servant Corps in Las Cruces, New Mexico are extending hospitality to those asylum seekers and immigrants who have been detained by the US government at the southern border. After their degrading and traumatizing treatment at the detention center, Peace LC, with the staffing of Border Servant Corps becomes a place of safety and refuge.
30-50 detainees arrive there every week. In the next 7 days they receive warm beds, food, showers, medical care, and assistance to get to the next stage of their journey. For some people this means going on to a city in the US where they can move through the next part of the asylum process. For others this means travelling back to one of the places that they came from.
During the week of July 21st, a group of people from CGS are going to go and volunteer with the Border Servant Corps to support them as they extend grace to the recently released detainees. Matt Byom, Shirley Woods, Joshua Armstrong, Michael Flanagin, and myself are not people who have any expertise to lend, nor do we have the ability to heal the trauma of emigration or detention. What we do have is the same thing we all have – the ability to extend grace to others. So that is what we’ll do, following the example of Jesus.
My hope is that our group will be able to invite you in to share in this ministry with us before and after our trip. I hope that you will speak with these individuals about what they are doing. I hope also that you will keep us in your prayers along with those who work every day to extend grace to those who are vulnerable in and around the US border, and every individual whose life is so devoid of hope that they risk safety and law-breaking to find a better life in the US.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.