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The Resistance Prays

September 30, 2018
By Rev. Ashley Whitaker

Today's Top Story
“Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City,” via the New York Times.
  • In recent weeks, hundreds of migrant children from across the country have been relocated from foster homes and shelters to a tent city in Texas
  • Immigration activists raise alarm about such facilities, which are without state child welfare authority oversight
“People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’” Luke 18:15-17
Come to Jesus
  • The Trump administration continues to struggle with a crisis of its own making: “The system for sheltering migrant children came under strain this summer when the already large numbers were boosted by more than 2,500 young border crossers who were separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy. But those children were only a fraction of the total number who are currently detained.”
  • More than 13,000 migrant children are still detained at this time. This population has increased fivefold over the last year, and the average time in custody for such a child has also nearly doubled (from 34 to 59 days). Existing shelters have been hovering around 90% capacity since May, leading to this reshuffling of around 1,600 children in recent weeks.
  • Children are being moved from private foster homes and shelters (where they have access to “formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their immigration cases”) to tent cities (where “children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school: The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete. Access to legal services is limited.”)
  • As a parent of two young children, it is painful in body and spirit to read these descriptions of not only their physical environs but also the emotional and spiritual environs of trauma and suffering these children are experiencing. Regardless of whether or not you parent in any way, shape, or form, any follower of Christ should be disgusted in both body and spirit by this treatment of children, regardless of their political status in this world.
  • Jesus is perfectly clear about the status of children in this world and in the world to come: whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. What’s more, this vignette from the Gospel According to Luke is sandwiched between two other powerful scenes: the parable of the righteous Pharisee whose prayers are unheard alongside the humble tax collector whose prayers are heeded, and, the rich ruler whose wealth prevents him from following Jesus and gaining eternal life in seeking the Kingdom of God.
  • I think almost all of us know how Jesus blessed the little children, but I am struck by this story all the more when I put it into greater context. We know that little children possess the nature needed to seek the Kingdom of God, but this object lesson is framed by lessons in humility and being willing to follow Jesus in radical ways. These three discipleship lessons are as powerful today as they were in Jesus’ day, especially as we consider this massive humanitarian crisis being visited upon powerless children and the prideful administration that has created it.
A Texas Tribune article says there is only one non-profit already established in the Tornillo area already contracted with the federal government to provide legal services for detained undocumented immigrant minors: the Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services of the Diocese of El Paso.

Visit their website, connect with them on social media, contact your representatives about this tent city and the larger crisis it represents, and support their ministry.
Jesus, may your children come to you. May the migrant children and youth in custody across our nation, detained by our self-righteous administration, find justice, peace, and healing in your arms. May your children in halls of power at all levels of our government be able to find their God-given voice to decry and work against such sinful systems. May your children who witness such horrors succumb not to shock and awe, but rather raise our voices and utilize our resources to end such systems of trauma and evil. May all people across our country – powerful, powerless, child, youth, adult, politician, civilian, citizen, undocumented, and of all faiths – have a true “come to Jesus,” that the abundance of life promised by Jesus may be experienced by all. Amen.
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