Feb. 19, 2015
by Jamie Calkin
When I felt secure, I said, ‘I will never be shaken.’ Psalm 30:6
Lisa’s sermon on Sunday of Mark’s story (1:40-45) of Jesus healing the leper helped me a lot this week. It helped me to think about my efforts in our university of faith small group on ‘Welcoming the stranger.’ We are exploring ways we can help immigrant families and especially those often invisible undocumented immigrants in our midst.
I often unconsciously take the role of Jesus in that story, self-righteously believing that I am doing something for these people while judging those on ‘the other side’ for spreading fear and hate. But it is more helpful to be the leper, hopeless and powerless, begging Jesus to make me clean. For I have sinned in my silence, sinned in believing my status is deserved while at the same time, not ‘welcoming the stranger.’
And if Jesus can grant me forgiveness, I can take that to the authorities, speak up for those children of God that our community has ignored and mistreated. I can be courageous in the face of systemic injustice and hate.
I don’t think I will ever forget the protest at the arch I attended last year (see attached image). I was so moved by the courage and faith of those young people who stood up to authority and called for the kind of justice and compassion Jesus represents. Who knows, Jesus could have been there…it was certainly the kind of place my Jesus would be:)
And more recently, nine young people, five UGA students and four undocumented individuals allowed themselves to be arrested in a sit-in. They were also protesting our state’s unjust law requiring undocumented students pay four times more in tuition while prohibiting them completely from going to UGA and the other top state universities.
Undocumented and choosing to be arrested…that is courage I don’t need in the safe confines of my privileged life.
So here’s my prayer…
Shake me up God, help me see the injustice. Forgive me for my inaction. And give me the courage to stand up to the ‘princes and principalities’…to help give voice to the voiceless and a place at Your table for everyone. And thank you for this church and all these people who are trying to do your will.