This week, I responded to an invitation to Maine clergy to attend an ecumenical rally at the State House in Augusta on Wednesday. The goal was to give voice to the support of New Mainers moving here to settle and work. Some new Mainers are asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees. Many Episcopal priests in our diocese among another 190 clergy signed a document that we delivered to our elected officials urging them to seek justice for new Mainers and to serve the common good. It truly was an ecumenical gathering. In my carpool were two Methodists and a Jewish lay woman. We met John Hennessey, the director of the Episcopal Network for Justice in Maine, and several people from Brunswick and St. Paul’s at the rally.
We are living in a time in which suspicion of people that appear to be “other,” “foreign” to us can create a barrier, even fear for well-meaning people. Walls go up in our minds before we realize that scripture calls us to welcome the stranger, Deuteronomy 10: 19 “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” In the photo, you can see that Andree Appel and I are holding the sign that welcomes immigrants and refugees depicted with a graphic of the Holy Family fleeing Herod’s terror to the safety of Egypt, Matthew 2:13-15. My faith is calling me to the kind of work that encourages justice for all and seeking the common good. I am aware that not all people of faith, even in our own parish and in my own family feel called to this kind of ministry. Yet, I am also called to be an encourager, someone who suggests scripture passages and encourages conversation that help us dialog with each other in ways that honor differing points of view. Let me share these passages with you in the hopes that we can initiate meaningful conversations with each other and inspire our best efforts to listen.Leviticus 19:34, Matthew 5:43-44, Matthew 25:40, Romans 12:13, Romans 13:8, Romans 13:10, Acts 10:34, Hebrews 13:1...and this is just a partial list!
May God bless us, encourage us and give us strength to do the hard work of loving our loved ones and our neighbors.
In the Spirit of Christ,
P.S. I want to share with you one of the Daily Devo this week on the subject of prayer. I’m always needing a boost to my prayer life! I hope you enjoy what it has to say.
See you tomorrow!