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The Resistance Prays

December 22, 2018
By Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

Today's Top Story
"Oklahoma church puts fence around Nativity scene to make statement about immigration" via CNN:
  • A church in Oklahoma put a fence around its Nativity scene to send a message: "The Holy Family Was A Migrant Family."
  • Chris Moore, pastor of the Fellowship Congregational Church in Tulsa, said there's a parallel between migrants who come to the US-Mexico border seeking asylum and the Christmas story. He specifically mentioned the Gospel of St. Matthew, which details how Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fled to Egypt to escape persecution from Herod.
"The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten.
The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish."
John 1:9-14
The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood
  • Rachel Held Evans writes about this passage from John: "if you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus - Jesus, who was born as an oppressed minority in an occupied land, Jesus who was an immigrant, Jesus, who surrounded himself with the poor, the sick, the marginalized and the 'untouchables,' Jesus who was criticized by the religious for hanging out with sinners, Jesus who treated women with dignity and respect, Jesus who taught his disciples to love their enemies, to give without expecting anything in return, to overcome evil with love." 
  • We know the Christmas story, but each year we are confronted by the radical nature of God entering into the world. In this beautiful translation of John from Rev. Eugene Peterson: God enters the neighborhood! Where is God entering the neighborhood this year?
  • This past year, we've seen unimaginable cruelty from the Trump administration towards immigrants. It continues at this very moment as Trump shuts down the federal government until he gets his monument to white supremacy -- aka the border wall. But we've ALSO seen something else: an awakening of American Christians to the struggle for immigrant freedom.
  • God enters humanity through one heart, one action, one faith community, one story. This year, I've followed a remarkable trend: churches using their nativity scenes to protest anti-immigration policies. The first church was in Indianapolis, then Boston, and now Tulsa, Oklahoma. This sacred resistance is God-begotten, not blood and flesh-begotten. I believe we are truly witnessing God moving into the neighborhood and shaking up the American Church. Yes, some churches that are too beholden to white supremacy will resist this Life-Light, but many people are waking up.
  • Trumpism is waking up a whole lot of people. I pray that in 2019 we take the Incarnation seriously. In the words of Rachel Held Evans, may we see this "radical teaching that God loved us enough to become like us" and then follow God's commandment to love our neighbor as ourself in response. 
Are you a part of a faith community? If so, make some Good Trouble in 2019 and push your community to take public action for the common good. Whether it's putting a cage around your nativity scene or using your church sign to combat Trumpism, make your love public.
God beyond all borders and human limits, we give you thanks for the Life-Light you've brought into the world. Transform us into our child-of-God selves, so that we may love our neighbor and bring about your reign on Earth. As the Word becomes flesh, may we see how you have moved into the neighborhood and respond accordingly. Amen. 
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