Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Good Mexican

I have been thinking about a Bible story found in Luke 10, you may have heard of it.

The Good Samaritan.

I have always looked at this story from the perspective of the injured traveler. Why? Because he is who most closely represents me. I am a white, American Christian. I am of the "dominant" ethnicity, culture and religion. I do not see my self as a religious hypocrite (hopefully others don't either) and I don't really relate to the Samaritan either. I have never been looked down upon by society. I have never been treated like a second class citizen and I don't know what it feels like for an entire people to consider themselves superior to me. So I guess I am the wounded traveler.

As I reflect on this story I have to ask how it relates to our society today. I can't help but draw similarities between how Samaritans were viewed by the Jewish people and how our society views Immigrants.

I feel like I just had an epiphany.

I need Immigrants to teach me how to be a neighbor, just like the expert in the law from Luke 10 needed a Samaritan to teach him how to be a neighbor. What a concept.

We NEED those who our society calls week, sinful, valueless to teach us about holiness.

As I think about my own story and how I have come to so deeply carry the burden of the undocumented I know it was not by accident and it surely was not of my own accord. I care because people in my neighborhood took the time to share their stories with me. They took care of me, fed me, loved me, and allowed me to enter into their lives. They welcomed me. They were vulnerable with me. They allowed me to be vulnerable. And now, I am a better person because of it. I have something I don't think very many people ever experience:

I have a calling.

With that calling comes freedom, hope, peace, and joy.

I have never felt more like myself, the person I was intended to be, then I do now. I have never felt more connected to God and His purpose for my life. The words of Mordecai to Esther are ever present in my mind, "Perhaps I was created for such a time as this." Perhaps I was created to stand up for the poor and carry the burden of the Immigrant. Perhaps I was created to be apart of a larger Christ movement of engaging people who look like me in a fight they might not be connected to otherwise.

And what if more people like me were able to enter into meaningful relationships with the "Samaritans" among us? What if more White, conservative Christians, broke bread with the Central American who cuts their grass? If God can use a few Immigrant families to DRASTICALLY change the course of my life, the possibilities are endless. Relationship is key, folks. We have to step out, on both sides. We need the Immigrant church to reach out, love the non-Immigrant church and teach us how to be a neighbor, even if we don't deserve it. And the non-Immigrant church, we need to be willing to learn. We need to see ourselves and others, even if they look different than us, as God sees us all: equally broken and equally loved.

It's changed my life...

And all because a Mexican treated me like a neighbor.