Reflections on Faith and Community

Dear friends,

On this page, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. You can also find them on the church's YouTube Channel in the "Weekly Word" playlist. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.

Andrew S. Odom

06/19/2018 7:42 AM

How We Receive Them

06/19/2018 7:42 AM
06/19/2018 7:42 AM

“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:13)

I don’t believe in labels. Even though I use them sometimes, I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe that challenging the practice of separating children from their parents at the border is a left wing statement any more than I believe saying that, as long as we live in a world of fences, we need keep our border secure is a right wing statement. I don’t believe in those labels. I do believe in the God who sighs at the pettiness of our labeling and is saddened by the divisiveness they create.

This week, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued a statement on the immigration crisis, saying among other things, “As the officials of our government attempt to address the crisis, we cannot afford to tarnish the highest values of our nation.” Some will want to label it. I caution against that, inviting you instead to receive it as an attempt to present the consciousness of the Presbyterian Church to the consciousness of the country. Former First Lady Laura Bush made a similar statement, suggesting that we should be able to do better.

I have watched the conversations on social media, which often make wide sweeping assumptions of “the left” and “the right” and the immigrant families who have come to our border. The “left” did this. The “right” did that. Blame is the name of the game these days, original sin at its best. The truth is that we cannot begin to fathom why someone thinks a certain way. We cannot begin to fathom what is going on in the lives of families who have come to the doorstep of our nation. They may not be aware of how to request legal entrance. We don’t know. All we know is that they are here, and it is messy. How we receive them and how we treat them in the process reveals the heart of who we are as a people. I, for one, believe that putting energy into improving this situation is worth our attention.

As Christians, we err on the side of grace, always, even at our own peril. We are called upon to do so by the One who went so far as to offer up his own life in order to welcome us home.

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