For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Ephesians 5:8-9 (NRSV)
In his letter shared with the Ephesian church, Paul concentrates on the themes of salvation by grace through faith and the universality, unity, and harmony in Christ for all peoples in all places. So how may we live as children of the light?
As part of the recent Bishop’s Journey to the Texas-Mexico border, we went to Senda de Vida in Reynosa, Mexico. This center offers temporary help for refugees and asylum seekers from over 30 countries.
Hector runs this center, and what an amazing story he told of how Senda de Vida came to be! God told Hector to return from the United States, where he had been living with his family, to his home country of Mexico. The Lord showed him a pig farm and told him it would become a center of hope for those seeking a new life. Senda de Vida means “life path.” Hector knows these families have traveled thousands of miles to get to this place and have endured untold hardships. His heart is for the children and he greets every one of them with a warm embrace, a hug and a kiss, telling them, “we have been waiting for you.”
Hector depends entirely on his faith in God to supply the needed items. One day, his cook came to him and said, “We have no more beans,” a diet staple for those resting there. The clothing and medication stores were also very low. Hector called his small staff together to pray, to give thanks for what God had already provided. This might seem a strange prayer as Hector had just been told they were almost out of supplies. After the prayer, the cook left. He came running back to Hector almost immediately to tell him of the many trucks approaching the front gate. They were from The United Methodist Church bringing the needed supplies.
Hector lives as a child of the light. Through his faith, his light has born much fruit; he has helped many the world has forgotten. What he is doing is good and right and true. When have we told God to choose someone else to lead that mission? Have we failed to notice the stranger in need or chosen to ignore them, to remain ignorant of their stories, too wrapped up in our own problems to care? Will our churches, those we call the body of Christ, open our arms and our hearts and say, “Welcome. We have been waiting for you”?
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
God, you come, and your ways are near to us.
You save in history.
Each person’s life, each person’s history,
is the meeting place you come to.
How satisfying to know we need not go to the desert
to meet you,
need not go to some particular spot in the world,
for you are in our own hearts!
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.
Cara Thompson is a provisional elder in the North Carolina Conference currently serving the Hawkins Chapel-Tabor Charge in the Heritage District.