People in our church have asked me: Is there anything the church is doing about stopping the separation of children from their parents? The short answer is yes. YOU are the church, and YOU can do something.
Children are being abused and there is no way to justify that. The situation must change.
Here are some ways you can be God’s love in action at this time and in this place:
Possible Actions You Can Take:
- Participate in a rally to heighten your awareness and show solidarity with the migrant families. Facebook recently published a “Rally for Migrants” held at Central UMC on Sunday, June 17. I attended that one along with other Christians from our church and other churches. More than 300 of us attended. Robin and I also were at a smaller rally held at the Sandra Day O’Connor building in Phoenix on Monday, June 18.
- Contact your Senators and Representatives; call the White House, the Attorney General and Homeland Security. Insist that they be transparent and show what is happening at the border and in the shelters where the children and youth have been detained. Let us see pictures of the girls, the small children, not just of the teenage boys. Why are you hiding what you are doing?
- Talk with others about how you feel and discuss ways to make your voice heard. We still live in a democracy and that means we have a voice.
- Write, talk, do social media, and put pressure on people who can change the laws and policies. Join the PVUMC Church and Society Facebook group and engage with other concerned members of our church about how to change the zero-tolerance policy. Pam shared this article published by the UMC News Service on the group page over the weekend: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/united-methodists-fight-separation-of-immigrant-families#.WybW0TRve5U.facebook
Understand How Faith Shapes Your Views:
This is not about laws; it is about morality and human decency. The highest commandment is to love God and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The parable of the Good Samaritan (the foreigner) was the way Jesus defined “your neighbor.” The Old Testament has firmly said that you shall care for the widows, orphans and the marginalized. Yes, we are to give the government its due (render to Caesar what is Caesar’s), but we are to stand firmly with God on how we treat others (and give to God what is God’s–justice). Children are suffering abuse at our hands, and we must stop it now.
Separating children and using them as leverage in political agendas is not Biblical. God’s people are called to stand with the marginalized. Seeking asylum because you are fleeing a dangerous situation is not illegal, it is survival. Crossing the border has been a misdemeanor; we don’t jail people for other misdemeanors. Criminalizing good people is wrong.
Thank you for being God’s love in Action. – Rev. Andrea Andress, Associate Pastor at PVUMC / Deacon and Director of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship
Ponder the Parable of the Good Samaritan as it is recorded in the Gospel of Luke and other scripture verses from the Gospel of Matthew:
Luke 10:25-37 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
He [Jesus} called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
~ Matthew 18:2-6