Friday, September 30, 2016

Justice Devotional - Citizenship

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration
Matthew 20:9-12

Since we were little kids, most of us had a well-developed sense of what was fair. When our brother or sister got away with something, we were quick to say, “That’s not fair!” Maybe our parents told us the old adage, “Life isn’t fair.” But deep down, we still cling to the belief that it should be. That’s one reason we’re so incensed when someone doesn’t follow the rules.

For many, the thought of people entering the United States by crossing the border illegally evokes the same outrage: “Who do you think you are? You think you’re so special that the rules don’t apply to you? That’s not fair!”

But that’s just it: it’s not fair.

It’s not fair that I was born on U.S. soil, thereby becoming a U.S. citizen. Because of that fact, I have lived my life free from genocide, political dictatorship, civil war, religious persecution and famine. And then there’s my other citizenship: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me, making me a citizen in the kingdom of heaven. If ever I should exclaim, “That’s not fair!” it’s because I have received so much more than I deserved.

Immigration is not a simple issue with simple answers. In fact, the more I learn, the more I appreciate the complexity of it all. But I have also found that starting the discussion with recognition that I do not deserve my citizenship — either of them — is a lot more productive than starting it by crying foul.

Can we set our indignation aside, or at least hold it lightly, while we learn about immigration? Because if we do, I believe we’ll find new understanding. And most importantly, I believe we’ll open ourselves to the ways God is working in the Church.

Gracious God, thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve. Help me to live into my citizenship in your kingdom.

Tana Liu-Beers: Immigration Legal Counsel, Disciples Home Missions Durham,
North Carolina Immigration and Refugees

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