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Deacon’s Blog – February 2024

By February 6, 2024No Comments

Building Bridges of Love

I have been reflecting how the way of love strongly suggests that we should be bridge builders and not wall builders…bridges connect us to each other, walls separate us providing us with separation and false security. A case for love very well could be to tear down the walls and build more bridges. (OK, a nod to Pink Floyd. Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe wrote that British colonialists, missionaries included, approached African cultures as if European culture—not Jesus—were the way, the truth, and the life. How often have we fallen into that model? ) It is not the approach of Jonah going out to others (which was hard enough for the people of Israel to stomach), but the experience of Ruth becoming part of the faith community and, in the process, changing it irrevocably.

Jesus emphasized the importance of welcoming strangers and showing hospitality to those in need. He teaches us to engage foreigners with kindness and compassion, regardless of their background or circumstances. Building bridges and not walls reflects this value by promoting policies that prioritize the well-being and dignity of migrants and refugees.

Jesus frequently demonstrated compassion and empathy toward marginalized and vulnerable individuals, including those considered outsiders or foreigners. His teachings encourage us to empathize with the struggles and suffering of others, motivating us to respond with love and support rather than exclusion or hostility.

Jesus advocated for justice in human relationships, challenging systems of oppression and inequality. Building bridges and not walls involves advocacy for just policies that respect the rights and dignity of migrants, ensuring that they are treated with equity and compassion under the law.

Jesus emphasized the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of building communities based on mutual care and solidarity. Building bridges and not walls sows in us a commitment to cultivating connections and relationships across cultural, national, and ethnic divides, recognizing the shared humanity of all individuals.

We died in your hills, we died in your valleys

We died in your orchards, we died on your plains

We died on your deserts, we died in your treetops

Both sides of the river we died just the same

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita

Adios mis amigos, Jesus and Maria

You won’t have a name when you ride the big airplane

No all they will call you will be Deportee

Woody Guthrie

From Uncaged Art, Art from the children we allowed to be separated from their parents and locked in cages.

In June 2018, a tent city emerged between the cotton fields and the US-Mexico border fence in Tornillo, Texas, just east of El Paso. It was overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The camp was privately run by Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), a non-profit organization. It was an expansive and expensive detention camp for refugee youth, costing over $3 million per day, and growing from an initial 400 beds to 3,000 beds by the time it closed in early January 2019. Approximately 6,200 “unaccompanied alien children (UAC)” ages 13-17 were detained there during its short existence. 

Peace, Rex