“It’s like we’re not even reading the same Bible.”
That comment, made last night in an Adult Ministry Team meeting in response to a question about what cultural conversations most press upon our people, prompted vigorous nods around the table. Lamenting the divisive rhetoric that seems to be everywhere we turn, we all grieved the way it has penetrated our wider Christian family and shredded our shared moral fabric, where some who claim Christ also claim superiority, exclusivity, and primacy of place in this world over others whose skin tone is richer in hue, whose voice bears the beautiful accent of the nations, whose story is filled with migration, challenge, or violence that led them to seek life abundant.
Last night we grieved, of course, but today, I must lift my eyes to something higher, something worthy of the call to which we have been called. And in the face of vile, relentless proclamations that demean, denigrate, and disparage people made in the image of God, we must lift all our voices in full clarity.
We pledge our allegiance first to the kingdom of God not the kingdoms of this world. For Romans says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
We circle around those in our community who are most vulnerable: standing with, stepping between, reaching ways to care for those who find this rhetoric most traumatizing. For Zechariah says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”
We don’t let the immense challenge that is immigration policy cause us to budge in any way about our commitment to love immigrants and refugees in word and deed. For Deuteronomy says, “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
We commit our very lives to a bold and boundless expression of the highest invitation of Jesus. For as we heard him say in worship on Sunday: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
We do these things, because God tells us to – through instructions unfolding from Genesis to Revelation in God’s abundant story of Love. We do these things, because we will not give in nor give up in the face of such racism and xenophobia. We do these things, because we have first been loved by God. We do these things, because frankly – that’s just what Christians do.
Which is why when an urgent call came from the folks at World Vision this week, seeking Good Neighbor teams from local churches to partner with a surge of refugee families settling soon in the Triad from the Congo, Burma, and Iran, our Missions Committee on all our behalf said a prayerful, powerful, fierce, and holy YES. Because that’s just what Christians do. You’ll want to watch all our communications channels in the coming weeks to learn more about how you can be part of this sacred invitation. May it spill forth from the worship that is our very lives!
Together in the work of Love,