Do Not Lose Heart

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

I have been watching with increasing horror the spectacle of children being separated from their parents at the border of the United States. Families, most of whom are desperate and fleeing violence, arrive on our border only to be separated, the adults jailed and the children “warehoused.” It is hard to wrap my mind around this. And, frankly, it makes me nauseous to see people justify this using Christian texts. I could post a host of Bible texts that condemn what our government is doing, but a “text war” is not going to change anything. And the bottom line is that there is no justification for this whatsoever. It is cruel and inhuman. Whatever conversation we as a nation want to have about immigration and border security, it does not begin with children ripped out of their parents’ arms and held in warehouse-like facilities. It does not begin with gross injustice and violation of basic human rights and respect for human dignity.

So, what can we do? I know it all feels overwhelming, and any response we have may feel futile, but we do need to respond. Partly for our own souls and mostly because millions of voices raised in protest actually can effect change. Here are some ideas. First, pray. Pray for the immigrant families, especially the children, and for those who are responsible for caring for them while they are in captivity.  Pray for our nation, for its leaders, for ourselves that we may not lose heart in protesting injustice. Come to church and pray with us, get strength for the journey from the Body of Christ; the gathered community and the bread. Then, get up off your knees, and call your Congress people- tell them you want this abhorrent practice to end. Donate to agencies that are working to help: “The Texas Civil Rights Project; the Florence Project in Arizona; and Kids in Need of Defense and The Young Center, which work nationwide. Lawyers might also consider lending their expertise. The Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas is helping families with supplies and humanitarian relief.” (from the NY Times). Finally, vote. It is how, in a democratic nation, we express and advance our core values.

I am guessing many of you, like me, are tired. These are exhausting times. So take care of yourselves, body and soul. And, as the Bible says over and over again (pretty much every time something terrifying is happening), do not be afraid, but “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

In Christ’s strength and peace,