“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Friends in Christ, this is the core of our life together. This is the authority on which true laws must be based. Laws unanchored in love do not carry the authority of authentic, just, godly government. Behavior toward one another that is not loving is not of God, no matter how many words attempt to cloak and defend the doer in righteousness.
Recently the thirteenth chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome was used to command blind obedience to a government policy that ripped apart families, many of whom are seeking safety and asylum as they fled violence that most of us cannot imagine. We who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ must not turn away from the cries of those children. If we ignore the impact of actions that purport to be carried out on our behalf, then we owe it those children to confess our sin, repent of our comfortable ignorance, and rise up in witness to the Gospel of that same Christ Jesus.
It is not enough that an executive order has been signed today. Listen to the cries of the children who remain separated from loving parents. Let the tears ripped from your eyes pull your heart along, too. Let your heart beat strength into your lungs, your lips, your hands, and your feet. Let your heart beat courage into your relationships. Let your security rest in Christ alone, not in legalism. Your reputation means nothing if it prevents you from confronting attitudes and behaviors that harm others.
Let your response be non-violent and strong. Let it be “firm, fair and friendly.” We should seek common ground wherever possible, but if the other continues to do harm to the vulnerable, it is incumbent upon each of us to lay down our very lives, as Jesus did, in witness to love itself.
Speak out when you hear scripture twisted and distorted in ignorance, malice, or hatred. If we fail to do that, we have to recognize the sound of the cock crowing in the courtyard, and with Peter, weep in shame.
Do we have a common purpose as Celebration Lutheran Church? Will you speak together AS Celebration Lutheran Church against these actions of the government which we participated in electing? We have declared consensus on the matter of homelessness. These children ARE homeless. Their families ARE vulnerable. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In this case, the answer is, Yes.