Monday, July 21, 2014

A Modern "Bad Samaritan" Story

Being here Saturday actually led to some good dialogue with a couple of Tea Party folks.

Here's my attempt at paraphrasing what Jesus might say about welcoming refugees:

Once upon a time some folks came to Jesus with the question, "Teacher, what do we need to do to get right with God and gain eternal life?"

He answered, "What's written in scripture? How do you read it?"

"That we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and passion, and love our neighbors as ourselves, with compassion," was their reply.

"Sounds good!" said Jesus. "Do this and you will live."

Wanting to spin this out further,  they asked Jesus, "And just how do you define 'neighbor'?"

Jesus answered them with this story:

"There were once countless numbers of children fleeing to the US from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, traveling aboard freight trains and by whatever means possible to flee from daily threats to their lives. Many of them fell among thieves and murderers en route, and those who reached the border were legally processed to determine which should be united with family members in the US and which needed to be returned to the same deplorable situations they left.

"An effort to house some of these children at the former Saint Paul’s College campus in Lawrenceville, Virginia, caused such an uproar that federal officials pulled out, even though a five-month lease had already been signed.

"When it was learned that seven of these Central American children were being housed at the Juvenile Detention Center in nearby Augusta County, members of the local Tea Party sponsored a protest Saturday on the Interstate 81 Exit 227 overpass, even as plans were already being made to move them elsewhere.

"Meanwhile, in an area with hundreds of congregations and thousands of believers, and with colleges and universities with plenty of temporary dorm space available, there was little evidence of people heeding my words, 'Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.'

"So which of these do you think were being 'neighbors' to children in need of help and hospitality?"

Please read this for an explanation of why this is a part of a larger humanitarian crisis rather than simply an immigration problem.
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