One cannot ignore the news regarding the immigration issues facing the United States. Social media is afire with posts coming from all sides of the issue. Debate has become personal, aggressive, inflammatory, racist, spewing venom from all directions.
Cast Member Church embraces those from all over the political spectrum. It's something I love about who we are. I think one of the reasons we have such a diverse church is because we find our unity in JESUS, and his kingship being the solution to any predicament, great or small.
Whether your political view is conservative or liberal, or your structural ideology is capitalist or socialist, we honestly don’t care. But we do care that your world view is always being shaped by Scripture. After all, as followers of Jesus, Scripture is our first and final authority.
That being said, there is a LOT of "engagement" in social media regarding the US Immigration issue and Scripture is being quoted by politicians, often haphazardly and out of context. This only creates more confusion and feeds the frenzy.
We readily admit the immigration issue is incredibly complicated and a solution will not come easy. We decided that it was time for Cast Member Church to address it not as a political issue but as a Biblical imperative that cannot be ignored.
This means we must ask: “What does the Bible say?"
Let’s remember that we are first and foremost, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and members of the Body of Christ (The Church). We are also citizens of whatever country we come from, BUT that is secondary to The Kingdom of God that Jesus teaches about throughout the Gospels.
This means his teachings and his example should be shaping who we are, what we think, what we say, what we do, and how we act. Of course, The Holy Spirit indwells us and is counseling and guiding us as we seek to become more like Jesus.
Jesus could always be found among those whom I call, "the invisibles;" those who had no voice, rejected by society AND rejected by the religious establishment of the time. He loved the misfit, the outcast, the forgotten, and the despised. In fact, he would seek them out to demonstrate his compassion for them.
As we ponder our current immigration issue, maybe the words he spoke will encourage and challenge you as you form your opinion. I personally recommend a couple of passages from The Bible that will help: Luke 10 (The story of the Good Samaritan) and the entire 25th chapter of Matthew.
Allow me to simply quote Jesus from Matthew 25 where he gets down to the nitty-gritty.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" - (Jesus) Matthew 25:35-40
Another Scripture comes from The Old Testament and it doesn't mince words:
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. - Leviticus 19:34
Just as he delivered the Israelites from abusive slavery in Egypt, God has shown each of us overwhelming compassion. He simply asks us to do the same for EVERYONE around us.
Remember that “love thy neighbor” and “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” stuff?
The values of Cast Member Church are ALWAYS Love, ALWAYS Truth, ALWAYS Mercy, ALWAYS Grace. In essence, ALWAYS JESUS. The question to ask ourselves is "how does the love, truth, mercy, and grace that God gave to me shape my thinking about the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the needy, the sick, the prisoner, the stranger, and the alien?"
So what can you do?
PRAY. Regardless of where you fall on the political or social spectrum, pray. Pray for our nations leaders (whether you like them or not). Pray for the immigrant families in the midst of this crisis. Pray for those you disagree with. Ask God to give you the mind of Christ, the heart of Christ, the words of Christ, and the actions of Christ.
LISTEN. God will speak and lead you. Be ready for him to take you beyond the borders of your comfort zone. He does that all the time. That's how we learn, grow, and become more like Jesus.
ACT. Be ready to make a difference. If you are the hands and feet of Jesus (and I know you are) then prepare yourself to use them for his glory. In your own way, God will use you to be part of the solution. I promise.