Everyone in our congregation should be concerned right now. Everyone. The same probably goes for your congregation.
I don’t really care what your thoughts are on immigration policy, at least not today. Today is a day to think as a Christian, not a Republican or a Democrat.
The Hispanic community in Abilene is upset. Nervous. Both those who are here legally and those who aren’t. They are uncertain about what the coming days bring for them and their loved ones. They know they are in for a time of distrust and suspicion, no matter their status. They are hurting right now.
This is true for Hispanic members of the church. They are scared. They are nervous. They are hurting.
We should be too.
But I agree with Trump’s immigration policy! (you say)
OK. That’s not the point of this post. This post is about weeping with those who weep. This is about compassion.
We can feel compassion even when we feel that someone is suffering because of something they’ve done wrong or that their family has done wrong. We can hurt for the alcoholic, whether or not we think they are to blame for their condition. We can hurt for families going through divorce, no matter what we see as the cause of their situation.
We don’t have to be pro-enforcement or anti-enforcement to hurt with those who hurt and weep with those who weep.
On Sunday, we had a baby blessing at our church. The father is Hispanic, the mother Anglo. Mom admitted that she would have preferred to do the blessing in the chapel where our bilingual group meets, but agreed to do it in the main auditorium because she had been told it would be encouraging to the main congregation. Everyone wanted to see that our congregation has young families that are growing.
When we have baptisms, we often do them during worship time, even though that’s very disruptive for the bilingual group. Why do we do that? So the whole congregation can rejoice together upon seeing a new birth. (Over the last few years, a disproportionate number of the baptisms at church have come from the bilingual group)
We want to rejoice with our Hispanic brothers. We want their joys and their triumphs to be the joys and triumphs of the whole congregation.
Therefore the whole congregation needs to be hurting today. We need to weep with those who weep. We need to feel the pain of the children who don’t understand legal and illegal; all they know is that Mexicans are being rounded up and sent away… and their parents are Mexicans. Kids don’t understand the difference. Their peers will still taunt them and bully them about being taken away by immigration. You may think that their parents are at fault, but you can still hurt for the children.
We can’t have it both ways. We can’t claim the joy and not claim the hurt. We can’t share the laughter if we aren’t willing to share the tears.
I don’t really care right now what you think about immigration policy. I do very much care what you think about Hispanics today, both those inside the church and out. How we react to them today, how we treat them during these hard times, how we talk about what’s going on… all of that will affect the church’s outreach for decades to come. And will affect our brothers and sisters today.
Weep with those who weep. Hurt with those who hurt.
Talk to school teachers. Hear their stories about the confusion kids are feeling right now. Think about the Hispanics you know who are working in restaurants, doing construction, laboring on farms. Whether or not they are here legally, they are going to face increased scrutiny, increased suspicion, increased discrimination. Feel for them. Embrace their pain as your own.
All of UCC Abilene needs to be upset and hurting today. All of us need to be nervous about what’s coming in the days ahead. Today, I don’t care about your politics; I care about your compassion.
If we are members of the University Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, we should be hurting today. (Those of you in other churches should consider your church’s situation)
Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.