I live in Phoenix, the front line in the war against the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to be free. I would imagine everything here looks pretty awful from the outside, seemingly without a silver lining, but I’ve been seeing something different, something beautiful happening here.
In the midst of our police raids, our masses of children orphaned by deportation, women giving birth in shackles, and our racist legislation, something wonderful is happing in the heart of the church. People from all sides of the religious spectrum are coming together in a way I haven’t ever seen before to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).
And it’s beautiful.
A friend of mine and I went to a meeting of clergy recently, gathering to discuss what we as a church can do. We met in the chapel of a United Church of Christ congregation downtown and had everyone from pastors and priests with their collars to rabbis with their yarmulkes, Muslim women in their hijabs and a few Anabaptists with babies in slings across their chests. Throw in a few Buddhist monks, devout Hindus, Unitarian Universalists, Baptists, and everyone in between and you’ve got a good idea of what the average immigration reform demonstration looks like here.
It’s a rainbow of beliefs putting our differences aside and uniting in the belief of a God without borders, without nationality, and who cares more about someone’s well being then their legal status. I have in my mind an image of God looking down on us and repeating the phrase “It is good.” as he did in the creation story in Genesis.
The hardest thing about SB1070 and similar hate based legislation is that politically, in a lot of ways, they makes sense. But I believe that we are called to do something radically different when we decide to follow Jesus. Jesus’ teaching didn’t make sense. Loving your enemy, praying for those who persecute you, turning the other cheek, these things don’t make sense at all… and that’s part of what makes it so fantastic.
Believing in Jesus is believing that doing what doesn’t make sense can be the best thing, and that sometimes doing what doesn’t make sense is what makes a better world possible. I believe in that world and I want so badly to be a part of it.