Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Recent news in our community revealed horrid conditions in a local assisted living facility, one poorly managed by people who not only neglected and stole from the residents, but who failed to extend loving care during their time of great need. Many of the residents had special needs—or special abilities—and were already displaced from families from all over the nation, just to be abruptly moved again last week with basically the clothes on their backs and whatever they were capable of carrying.
Our church family cried together.
You see, we had opened our hearts, lives, homes, and church doors to many of the residents—along with others from the community—and they had become our precious friends as we worshiped, dined, learned, played, and danced together. We learned about great joy despite limitations. They learned about unconditional love despite great sacrifice. We all learned about the need for every single person to be embraced as creatures of great worth and to have a voice.
But, even if we didn’t personally know Daniel, Ines, Mary, Tracy, Big John, and so many others, our hearts should still have been broken for God’s children. If only we would see.
God’s Word oozes with callings to see, care for, pray for, sit down with, walk alongside, and stand up for the marginalized. Oscar Romero said, “When we speak for the poor, please note that we do not take sides with one social class. What we do is invite all social classes, rich and poor, without distinction, saying to everyone let us take seriously the cause of the poor as though it were our own.”
As we move forward as a church family, we’ll continue tracking down and communicating with our friends to not only help bring closure with our cards, gifts, and prayers we mail to them, but to help them understand they are not forgotten. May our eyes be opened every day to those without voices and choices.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
May your church be fair to see,
attractive in every age,
faithful to the Spirit that floods her.
May she reflect the Spirit
through her communities,
through her pastors,
through her laity,
through her very life. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To become educated this week:
Look for space where you can listen to impacted community members.
To cultivate growth this week:
Look for one way to collaborate with local immigrant organizations in your community this week.
To advocate this week:
Start a conversation with a neighboring congregation to respond to the harsh actions seen in our communities.
Nita Hill is a member of Sharon United Methodist Church in Supply, NC.