Love Your Neighbor

Jesus commands us, “love your neighbors,” Mark 12:31. Our Welcoming Task Force is helping us wrestle with what it means to be a welcoming community of faith. At the same time, the plight of Asylum Seekers has taken center stage in our nation. We are called to love these neighbors, as we love our selves.

Despite what some may say, this is not a political issue. It is a moral one. It is a spiritual one. It is about how we live our faith in the world. How will you respond?

I invite you to look deeper than the headlines. Every news source has a bias. As best you can, dig for truth in the pile of falsehoods. Study what the Bible has to say about immigrants and all those we label, “other.” Here’s where you can find a list of scripture texts that address immigration and God’s call to love the stranger: http://www.ucc.org/justice_immigration_worship_biblical-references-to

I invite you to talk with others about it. I am happy to be part of the conversation. Give me a call, send me an email, let’s set up a time to chat.

I invite you to pray. Seek God’s guidance for your life, for the lives of those persecuted, and for their persecutors. Pray for our congregation and for our national leadership. That we might be led to do what is right in the sight of our neighbors and in the sight of God. Pray that we might have the courage to act.

Finally, I offer, for your reflection, an expression of Christian faith, through the perspective of an immigrant.

The Immigrants’ Creed

I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home,
who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger,
and returning to his own country suffered the oppression
of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power,
who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured,
accused and condemned to death unjustly.
But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries,
and reunites all races.

I believe that the church is the secure home
for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it,
who speak the same language and have the same purpose.
I believe that the communion of the saints begins
when we accept the diversity of the saints.

I believe in the forgiveness of sin, which makes us all equal,
and in reconciliation, which identifies us more
than does race, language, or nationality.

I believe that in the resurrection
God will unite us as one people
in which all are distinct
and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in life eternal
in which no one will be an immigrant
but all will be citizens of God’s kingdom,
which will never end. Amen.

“The Immigrants’ Creed” is excerpted from The Book of Common Worship: 2018 Edition. © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press.