Border Crisis. No answers here. Just some random thoughts.
Like many of you, I too have been thinking about borders. I have mixed emotions about the Texas/New Mexico/Arizona/California Border crisis. Yet, we realize that we are not the only ones that are struggling with this issue: Canada, Western Europe, and the British Isles all are places that are seen as lighthouses of hope in the midst of economic struggle, violence, and cultural strife. They too are overflowing with people begging for immigrant status.
One side of me cries out in compassion for the immigrants who so desperately desire/need a new life, a fresh new start. Most all of our ancestors were immigrants to America, to this place of new beginnings, of hope. Yet, the other side of me wonders if we can financially take care of much of the the world’s population that wants to live in wealthier and safer North America and Western Europe.
NASA announced today that within 20 years, we will likely find planets in other solar systems with life on them. What if our great-great grandchildren one day want/need to immigrate to another safer planet for a new beginning? Will they be welcomed or returned?
Jesus the Christ whom I follow as a disciple and serve as an ordained minister, was an immigrant: Christ chose to immigrate from heaven to earth and then in the first months of life, Mary and Joseph chose his immigrant status for him when they felt called to flee from Israel to Egypt.
What if there were no borders on planet earth and we could live and travel anywhere we wished? Jesus taught the disciples to pray: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Are there borders in the heavenlies? Did Jesus’ announcement that the kingdom of God was in their midst cancel out earthly borders? Does the concept of hospitality, welcome, and inclusion at The Table of Christ carry over to the immigrant crisis? Does the parable of the Master inviting the wealthy to the banquet and they didn’t show up, so he invited the country bumpkins and the outcasts to come party with him relate to the immigrant issue?
Lord, we want to be faithful to our calling as followers of Christ. We want to do justice and to love mercy. We want to love our neighbor as ourself. We want to do unto others as we would have others do to us. We want to be generous and kind. We want to stand up for those who are oppressed. Pope Francis joined into the debate today, July 15 calling for “urgent intervention” to welcome and protect unaccompanied minors traveling from Central and South America.
The words, “let the little children come to Me” keep rolling through my mind and soul. Oh God, oh people of God, What should we do?
Following are 39 Bible verses from http://www.openbible.info concerning immigration. May we let the Spirit speak to us. I do not ever like verses taken out of context, so I encourage each of us to read the whole chapter to see what the context is. These verses are from the ESV version: sadly, they do not use inclusive language…so, let’s try to mentally change the words “man,” “men,” “him,” “brother” to “people” as we read them.
Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Matthew 25:35 ESV For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Exodus 22:21 ESV “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Malachi 3:5 ESV “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.
Deuteronomy 27:19 ESV “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Zechariah 7:9-10 ESV “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
Hebrews 13:2 ESV Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 ESV “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.
Ezekiel 47:22 ESV You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
Leviticus 25:35 ESV “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.
Deuteronomy 26:5 ESV “And you shall make response before the Lord your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.
Deuteronomy 10:18 ESV He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
Matthew 5:46-47 ESV For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Ruth 1:16 ESV But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Genesis 12:1 ESV Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
Luke 13:29 ESV And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.
Philippians 3:20 ESV But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Mark 12:30-31 ESV And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Luke 13:29-30 ESV And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Micah 6:8 ESV He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Genesis 18:1-8 ESV And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”
Matthew 5:40-42 ESV And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Matthew 2:14 ESV And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt
Psalm 137:1-9 ESV By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!
Acts 28:2 ESV The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.
1 Timothy 5:8 ESV But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Isaiah 16:3-4 ESV “Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive; let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them from the destroyer. When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,
Deuteronomy 10:19 ESV Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 ESVHe executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9 ESV “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 ESV Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Joshua 20:2 ESV “Say to the people of Israel, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses,
Luke 3:5-7 ESV Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Ecclesiastes 10:4 ESV If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.
Deuteronomy 28:33 ESV A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually,
Exodus 21:13 ESV But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee.
Ezekiel 12:1-4 ESV The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile.
Ezekiel 11:16 ESV Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’