Sunday, 2 April 2017

Lenten Reflections - Part 5

The 2006 Desert Southwest Annual Conference of United Methodists in the USA directed the Conference Board of Church and Society to provide a way to study the issues we face concerning immigration.

As part of this, they went to Mexico to explore, on a personal face-to-face level, what the issues were, what economic pressures the Mexicans faces, how Mexico and the USA were interlocked together, what effect trade deals had on Mexican farming, and all this comes out in their report. Below is the final part.

This was long before today’s troubled issues about immigration, but it opens up some good ethical questions with each section. I’m not giving my opinions; I’m leaving it for the reader to look and make up their own minds.

The Desert Southwest Conference Board of Church and Society
Borderlinks Trip Reflection - Part 4

After our visit to the Red Cross we returned to the plaza and saw that the Roman Catholic Church had opened its doors. It seemed very important to all of us to go and sit inside for awhile.

As we entered and found a pew to sit and reflect and pray, we saw several migrants kneeling at the altar in prayer to God. This was indeed was one of the most emotional experiences of the trip for many of us.

One young man finished his prayer and turned to walk down the aisle to leave. As he walked by, the tears on his face were very evident. One could only wonder what he had lifted to God in this moment of preparation.

Did he pray for strength as he faced this very anxious moment of crossing? 

Did he pray for safety or for peace as he faced such an unknown future? 

Did he pray for his family and those he loved that he would be separated from for possibly years? 

Did he pray for an angel in his life to be a source of strength as he journeyed as that stranger into a strange 

Did he pray for all of the above?

Biblically, compassion means to enter into another person’s life so completely that you understand it from their perspective. Luke 6:36 has Jesus challenge us “to be compassionate as God is compassionate”. What does this tell us about the essential need to seek “experience” as we discern our faith understandings of life as Christians?

How does the issue change or the context of a discussion change when you move from discussing a nebulous name to dialoguing about a person whose countenance is full of tears?

How does the discussion become reframed when the person you are talking about is all of a sudden a child of God who you have experienced a moment of prayer with in the house of God?

This account summarizes only the basics of the trip, yet it captures some of the most meaningful experiences. There may be no more important aspect of the Wesleyan quadrilateral than experience and its effect upon us as we theologize on this or any topic.

It is what personalizes any situation for us and causes us to put a human face and framework at the heart of an issue

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