This week, while prayerfully considering how Christ lights the way for immigrants and migrants, I read an article that sounded pretty familiar. In fact, it sounded pretty Lutheran. It began, “For Christians who take seriously the authority of Scripture, immigration is much more than a complex and controversial political issue. It is an important theological issue.” The article notes that the Bible has a great deal to say on the topic of immigration. Author Matthew Soerens says, “God makes it clear that He loves immigrants and He commands His people to do so as well.” He highlights the fact God reminds Israel of its obligations to immigrants, known then as aliens, a total of 36 times. Likewise, Soerens says, “Jesus interacts with foreigners in countercultural ways … characterized by love and respect.”
Soerens serves as the field director for a group dedicated to bringing Christians together across party lines to work for immigration justice. They can be found regularly gathering crowds to pray and to advocate for immigration justice. They work as vigorously as our own ELCA organizations striving to secure justice for immigrants and refugees. Like our own ELCA immigration advocacy organizations and those of our mainline partners, the work they do in the spotlight is just the tip of the iceberg. Their partners also include college campuses, denominational and network leaders, authors, journalists, social service agencies, seminaries, global relief organizations and community developers. In fact, a few mainline churches are represented in this organization. Unlike the ELCA though, whose membership is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, this group’s membership includes 40 – 50% more Republicans than Democrats. Though it may surprise some liberal mainline Christians, their statement of principles calls for a bipartisan immigration solution that “respects the God-given dignity of every person and protects the unity of immediate family.”
I’ve hidden the name of the organization on the podium in the above picture. Do you have an idea of who they might be? You may be surprised. This organization is named The Evangelical Immigration Table. In these anxious times, when fear of “aliens” in “our” land drives people and groups apart, Christ the Light of All People IS at work drawing faithful followers together. Across chasms of theological and political difference Christians can and are finding unity of purpose in the example of Jesus Christ and in the command to love one another without fear, without prejudice, and without preference – just like God loves each and every one of us.
Together in Christ,