If there was ever a time to pray and work for the shalom (or well being) of our nation, it is now. As the people of God – his church – we are being challenged to examine our hearts and the authenticity of our own faith by the presence of undocumented neighbors struggling for survival in our own backyards. Like the religious leaders and fear-filled individuals who walked past and around the man who was laying on the side of road in Jesus’ good Samaritan story, too many of us in this country who claim to follow Jesus are doing the exact same thing – by ignoring the plight of our immigrant neighbors.
Regardless of our political persuasion, at the very least we as believers ought to be loving and merciful and compassionate towards those who are taking care of our kids, mowing our lawns, dry-walling our new homes, picking our crops, serving our meals, fighting in Iraq, and worshipping in our churches. At the very least, we should understand the agony that many of these parents feel; their willingness to do whatever they can to find a better life for their families and children – even if it means risking their lives. At the very least, our hearts should break when we hear about children being torn from their fathers and mothers by immigration raids that are, at best, a cold-hearted attempt to “fix” broken immigration laws. At the very least, those of us who really don’t understand the issues related to immigration reform should take the time to get informed.
In a perfect world, this immigration problem our nation faces would be solved quickly. The truth is, every knowledgeable person I have spoken to about the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform happening soon says the same thing: It has to happen in the next four to six months, or it may not happen for years to come.
What that sort of delay would mean for the men, women, and children who are living and working in the shadows of our society is more fear, more abuse, and more tragedy. For many of us who have been passionately involved in the struggle to reach out to the stranger, as we believe Jesus would have us to do, it would mean more disillusionment with the church and more disappointment with our lack of courage to love “the least of these” as an expression of our deepest faith.
I know it feels overwhelming to get involved (I feel over my head in this everyday). But if the Lord nudges your heart to respond, as he has nudged mine, and you do something to get involved out of obedience to Christ, we will all be amazed at what God can do in the next few months to move hearts and to change laws – because nothing is too difficult for God.
To find out more, please visit http://www.churchandimmigration.org/