March 12, 2012
One of the reasons I felt called to Westminster Presbyterian Church was its connection to BorderLinks.¬† In 2007 I was part of a delegation from Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, MN to the Arizona/US border.¬† It was a very moving experience for me as I consider myself fortunate that I had the luxury to come to the United States by choice.¬† After completing my theological studies in 1997 I wanted to work in a faith community in a culture other than my own and at the age of 27 I came to the US also out of a sense of adventure.¬† On that trip in 2007 we met so many people whose experience was so different from my own as their life situations do not allow them the "luxury of choice", but only leave them with necessity.¬† Part of our itinerary was a visit to an art exhibit; "The Heart's Path: Border Art and Artifacts From the Migrant Trail," that featured the work of 10 artists who were inspired by border crossers and the things they left behind.¬† A very inspiring piece of art to me was created by Deborah McCullough, a Tucson volunteer with No More Deaths and the Samaritans, who took a child's feeding spoon and made it
|"How Far Would you Walk to Feed Your Family?"¬† By Deborah McCullough|
the centerpiece in a small wooden shrine.¬† Placing metal leaves and seeds from a tree in Mexico¬† around the spoon, in a corona of light, honoring the walker's presumed intentions, she asks in the artist's note, "How far would you walk to feed your family?"¬†
This shrine challenged me and made me realize that "immigration" is not merely a political question - it is a deeply spiritual one!¬†
It is with this spiritual quest that Beth and I are leaving today for Tucson, Arizona and will join Dick Beery and six students from The College of Wooster on this Westminster delegation to the border.¬† Here at Westminster, we are called to actively campaign to uphold the human rights of all ... including migrant workers and members of their families. "The protection of the human rights of peoples, such as migrant workers, is our social responsibility and belongs to the basic core of our being a community of faith.¬†
Migrants are persons just like any other whose basic human rights to live in safety and with dignity must be protected. They are human beings who are created in the image of God. They are the strangers whom God loves. Migrant workers, and all of us, are interwoven in the cosmic fabric. We can't be blind to the harsh realities that people experience. Our Christian faith must find ways to contribute to the humanization of God's people and for the realization of the reign of God's justice and peace ."
I hope to be in touch with you in the Weekly Mailing next week from Tucson.¬† Please keep us in your prayers.¬† We will see you back in worship on Sunday, March 18.¬† This coming Sunday Rev. Virginia Birks will lead worship as we celebrate the gifts of women in ministry.
 Sermon preached by the Rev. Connie Semy Mella, Migrants and Their Quest for Wholeness, Deuteronomy 10:17-19.