Friday, October 7, 2016

Justice Devotional - Moses’ Mother and Strategic Decisions for Placement

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration

Moses’ Mother and Strategic Decisions for Placement

My recent life feels like it has been all about movement. A move from California to Washington, D.C., from a city condo to a neighborhood house, from a community office to a church site, from a single life to marriage. In every change, I have been struck by the number of decisions about placement that have been required: Where should we look for a home? In what new locations will we put items from all those boxes? What living arrangement will best allow my husband’s future to now fit with my own? They are strategic decisions, each one small but building upon another, working together to form a new life.

In chapter two of Exodus, Moses’ mother Jochebed made strategic placement decisions far more complex than these. Aware she had given birth to a son the Pharaoh wanted to kill because he was afraid of her people; she traded in a certain future of trauma by making a decision to use a little bit of tar. She bravely opted to use a basket for life instead of becoming a basket case of fear. Rather than drowning in panic, she protected her son amid the papyrus — and strategically floated him into the arms of the Pharaoh’s princess. Each one was a small decision. But building together, they formed a remarkable future for their Hebrew family — as the princess eventually paid Jochebed to nurse and care for her beloved baby she had protected.

All around us are immigrant neighbors also making their own strategic placement decisions to try to build a solid new home in this country for their families. There’s the single mother who walked her children to school every day because she was not allowed to get a license. There’s the young woman “DREAMer” who was raised here most of her life but not allowed to accept a scholarship because she was brought to this country without documents as a young child. And there’s the father recruited to produce food in America’s fields, who now is laid off and must choose to leave his family now settled here or risk being caught and deported. As people of faith, we also have the chance to make strategic decisions to build just policies for compassionate immigration reform to help refugees and immigrants in our midst build more firm futures. Pastor Natalie Chamberlain from Fresno, CA. shared stories with her congressmen this week of two church children impacted by recent ICE roundups at the end of the recent growing season in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. One was a little boy in her church’s pen pal program who broke down crying to his pal because of his dad’s deportation. Another child’s family had been attending church, but is now gone because they could no longer pay the rent. As we work in partnership with our denomination’s Refugee & Immigration Ministries to welcome newcomers, let us remember the courage of Moses’ mother Jochebed and likewise make decisions that help build stronger and faith filled futures for our neighbors, our churches, ourselves. God who granted Moses’ mother with the courage to float a basket that led to the Promised Land and extended the journeys of your Hebrew people, let us listen to the courage of those seeking futures around us, and share our love to build family unity and hope. AMEN. Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries,
Disciples Home Missions Immigration and Refugees
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