I am not a policy maker or someone who is charged with enforcing the law. I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as such, sometimes ministry comes into direct conflict with policy and law. I try not to break the law, since I believe as a Christian we are called to obey the laws of the land we live in, but sometimes I do have to deal with the fallout of laws and policies. Sometimes my faith puts me at odds with political theory, and I have decided that I will follow the Gospel rather than the policies of a particular political party when this happens.
If you have been following the news as of late you know that there are untold numbers of children streaming across the southern borders of our county. This is obviously a crisis that needs immediate attention from a legal standpoint as well as a humanitarian one. Like I already said, I am not an enforcer of the law but I am a person who is charged, as all Christians are, with loving our neighbor.
In the Gospel of St. Luke (10:26-37) we find the story of the Good Samaritan. In the story a variety of people come upon a man who is hurt and laying on the side of the road. The Gospel tells us the man had been attacked by thieves. Most of the people turn a blind eye and pass right on by -- perhaps they are busy texting or listening to their music -- but nevertheless they pass right by. Then a Samaritan, a despised person, comes upon the man and not only binds up his wounds but takes him to an inn and pays for his stay. At the end of the story Jesus asks those listening, "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" The answer came back, "He who showed mercy on him." Jesus responded, "Go and do likewise."
Our neighbor is the one right in front of us, and we do not have to look far to find him. In the current events story there is obviously a need to talk about law enforcement and what not, but the immediate need is caring for the person, created in the image and likeness of God, that is right in front of us. Jesus did not tell those that were listening to protest the thieves and decry the lack of law enforcement in their area, no. He told them to show compassion on those in need.
Yes, we need a comprehensive immigration reform plan, and yes, we need to strengthen our boarders for our own security reasons, but these children are here now and need to be shown compassion. These children are being used as pawns by both sides of the political spectrum, and are alone and scared in a foreign country. Yes, we need reform but we also need to help those in need!
I have often said that the church, and by that I mean all churches, need to step up and do more to help their neighbors. For some reason the church gave away her right to aid those in need and now we expect the government to do it and, to put a fine point on it, the government stinks at helping people. We have an opportunity here to step up and lead by example, and help those in need. Yes, we need the help of the government to house the children, but the church can provide volunteer legal help, education, food, clothing and medical support.
When the tornado roared through our area three years ago, it was the churches that stepped up first and opened their doors to provide shelter, food and emotional support to those in need in our communities. Groups of church people came from outside of our area with chain saws and aprons to provide what we needed to get our community back on track; this is what we are good at, or should be good at -- helping those in need.
The 25th chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel is often used as the example of how we are to live as Christians. This is the "clothe the naked, feed the hungry" passage. In verse 40 of that chapter it says, "inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." We are called to see Christ in everyone
It is not the fault of the children and they should not have to suffer at the altar of American politics. Yes, we need reform and yes, we need it fast, but they are here, right in front of us, right at this moment, and they are in need right now and they are here right now. Let us not turn our backs on our neighbors.