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Photo credit: Kristen L. Southworth

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We are Called to Welcome and Receive Children as Jesus Did

June 20, 2018

 

This past Sunday, as we celebrated the children of our church school, I shuddered inside to think of what those smiling faces would look like if they’d been ripped from their families. The elders and I led us all in a blessing of the children. In that moment, I knew we were blessing all children, not just the ones in front of us. My heart breaks at the knowledge that far too many children on our southern border are weeping, not smiling; that too many adults in positions of responsibility forget that we are to welcome and receive children as Jesus did.

 

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

 

Over and over again, God calls us to welcome the stranger and care for the foreigner among us.  St. Paul wrote, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Those who wish to invoke a biblical ethic should be guided by this test of love. Love God. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. These, Jesus said, are the two greatest commandments. The things happening now are not an example of loving God or loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. They are inexcusable.

 

But they are not insurmountable.

 

Many wonder what we can do and some have asked me. The immigration issue in our country is complicated and requires the rigorous debate in which we are hopefully now engaged. One thing to do is to remember Jesus commending truthfulness. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” The truth is that regardless of when or who helped enact these laws, it was the decision of the current administration to enforce it in such a draconian way. It was the decision of this administration to use such tactics selectively. No other areas of the country are showing such a crackdown on illegals.

 

Thankfully, the current administration has acted to end the separation of families. Parents and children will be detained together. This does not end the zero-tolerance enforcement that has overcrowded detention facilities. It does not spell out how children who have been shipped to facilities away from where their parents are will be reconnected. It does not solve the larger issues of immigration practices. It does not absolve our Congressional representatives from the responsibility to work together on legislative responses to the immigration issues. 

 

Until such debate is concluded and action taken, we cannot and must not be silent.

 

Above all, please keep these children in your prayers. Please keep these parents in your prayers, who want nothing more than a better life for their families. Please keep our elected officials in your prayers.

 

Rev. Bill Schram began his ministry with Westminster in March and is the current Interim Minister. Bill attended McCormick seminary in Chicago and met his wife Jenny there. They have served as co-pastors and in separate positions. He has served churches in urban, near suburb, small town, county seat towns in various positions such as pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, and hospital chaplain. He and Jenny have two natural and one foster daughter. Delightfully, they now have a granddaughter to enjoy.

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