In his explanation to the 5th commandment (Thou Shall Not Kill) Martin Luther writes: We are to fear and love God, so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors, but instead help and support them in all life's needs.
The attack on a refugee child's birthday party in Boise yesterday grieves me deeply, and speaks to how fractured our lives as Americans have become. No matter where you stand on the issue of immigration, I am confident that this act grieves you as well.
I share Luther's explanation of the 5th Commandment, because in his explanation he goes so much deeper than "don't kill people"--but speaks to how we as Christians are to fear and love God so that we fulfill the greatest commandment: to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We learn that there are ways to kill people that have nothing to do with ending their lives.
This is one of those instances when I believe we are truly stronger for a multiplicity of voices and opinions speaking out. From those of us who would like free and open borders to those of us who believe a wall is the most effective way to ensure our safety: when we are able to speak together along that continuum, what we say gets heard differently. We begin to work together to create common ground that voices on both sides of our national leadership are invested in making sure we think doesn't exist. It does. No matter how you feel about refugees or immigration, we can all agree: stabbing kids at a birthday party is wrong. Let's start there and see where God takes us.
So how can you help?
1. PRAY. Pray everyday for our nation, for our leaders, for those who still see living in the United States as preferable to where they are living now. Pray for those who you disagree with--not that they would change their minds, but that together we would begin to find those islands of commonality that will remind us that our shared humanity is stronger than those who seek to exploit our differences for their own personal gain.
2. BE SANCTUARY. The word "sanctuary" has become loaded in our current political climate, but at its core it simply means: safe place. Be a safe place. Speak safe words. Perform safe actions. Create safe places for others to shelter in--either literally or spiritually.
3. Visit Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service at https://www.lirs.org/for further information on how the ELCA is working to ensure the safety of immigrants and refugees in the United States.
I truly believe we are reaching a point in our national discourse that transcends red or blue, democrat or republican, conservative or liberal. That is black and white thinking in a world that is fraught with shades of gray. I believe God is calling us to remember that we are a part of the Body of Christ--a body that transcends time and space and geography. A body that is made weak when any one member of it suffers. Be in prayer about how God is calling you to help in these days.