In Chin State, Myanmar (Burma), a place I have come to love and where I have friends, there is a partial internet blackout as the fighting between government forces and independent militia intensifies. The government does not want news of what they are doing to get out into the world. I worry about and pray for my friends.
Here in America we incarcerate children on the border and now, as the concern for, and the spotlight on, those children intensifies, our government plans to move them to Fort Sill (which was an internment camp for the Japanese during WWII)….this will put the children on government land which means that it will be harder, if not impossible, for people to get in and check on the conditions these children are being kept under. Like in Myanmar, the government (our government) does not want news of what they're doing to get out into the world.
Jesus' commands about caring for the "hungry, the lame, those in prison, and the naked" are rooted in Torah.
One of the harshest curses in Deuteronomy was aimed at the Ammonites and Moabites, curse that lasted "to the 10th generation" …. get this: "because they did not meet you with food and water on your journey after you left Egypt, and because they hired Balaam son of Beor, from Pethor of Aramnaharaim, to curse you." (Deuteronomy 23:5)
Then, Deuteronomy 24:6, 10-15, 17-22 are a list of rules (among a list that also includes some rules about divorce and not sending newly married men off to war) about how to deal with loans and with immigrants and with the poor. That list twice includes the commandment to remember that you were slaves in Egypt.
Jesus takes these commandments and makes it starkly clear that the quality of the relationship we have within the human community is also the quality of the relationship we will have with God.
Let me say it again: The quality of the relationship we have within the human community is also the quality of the relationship we will have with God.
I read about how the Ammonites and Moabites failed to offer hospitality to the weary immigrant Hebrews as they walked through the wilderness to escape the harsh conditions of Egypt and I see our southern border. I see children separated from parents; denied toothpaste and soap; left in the care of other children.
I see Balaam hired by these people to curse the Hebrews and I cannot help but see Donald Trump, elected to shouts of "Build That Wall." The story, you may remember, included an ass that had sense enough to lie down because it saw the Angel of the Lord blocking Balaam's way. Do American voters have enough sense to deny Trump's sins of inhospitality and racism a second term? Or will our nation walk straight into the sword of the Angel of the Lord?
God is not mocked. We cannot behave like predatory creatures who only see others as food without losing our soul. In Mark 8:34-38 Jesus makes it clear that it is possible to lose everything in our grasping desire. He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him. Following Him may include more than "this is how people will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another like I have loved you," and "As you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me," but it certainly does not include anything less.
You can shut down the internet. You can hide the children you are abusing by your policies away from the media and other observers. But God is not blind.
The Quality Of The Relationship We Have Within The Human Community Is Also The Quality Of The Relationship We Will Have With God
The crisis is not at the border; it is within the heart and soul of our nation. It is indeed a crisis; and our soul may depend on how we address it.