God’s Perspective at the Borders

by

Our Gospel reading for today is the story of Joseph listening to the angel who spoke through his dreams, causing him to uproot his family and flee to a foreign country.

If the Holy Family were to seek refuge in the U.S. today as they did all those centuries ago in Egypt, a report much like this might be generated:

“This family of asylum-seekers is questionable at best.  The head of household, Joseph, says that Herod, the corrupt dictator of the country from which they have fled, is seeking to kill their son.  There is no apparent basis for this highly improbable allegation other than a couple of dreams this man relates in which he is purportedly warned by an angel.

“In addition, there is some abnormality in the relationship between this man and the child.  This family comes from a culture where sexual relations outside of wedlock are punishable by stoning, and yet the child was obviously conceived before the couple was married.  When questioned as to whether the child is his son, Joseph hesitates.

“The mother, Mary, is young and abnormally self-assured.  She appears to suffer from the delusion that she and her child will be protected by supernatural forces.  Is this a postpartum psychosis or a psychological issue of longer duration?

“The family claims that they would be residing in the U.S. only temporarily, hoping to return to their country when Herod is no longer in power.

“At the very least asylum should be denied Joseph, since he likely has no biological relationship with the purportedly threatened child.  The mother, Mary, is not a reliable source of information. We have to ask: how likely is it that her child is perceived as a threat by such a powerful man as is Herod?  Perhaps Herod’s recent Purge of Innocents has sparked this woman’s fantasy.

“My recommendation is to deny asylum to this entire family.”

 

Each family that awaits judgment at the borders of the U.S. is a holy family.  Not only is each beloved of God, but each has a potential destiny of profound benefit to the world.  The cynical assumptions that are the basis for turning away asylum-seekers are not conducive to the creative manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  God’s perspective is very different from ours.

 

Dear Creator, help us, I pray, to see from your large point of view. Amen.

 

Laurie Gudim is a writer, religious iconographer, and spiritual director living in Ft. Collins, CO.  To get to know her a little better visit everydaymysteries.com.

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Chris Harwood
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Chris Harwood

Of course, if the fact that God loves every person on the planet is the only reason we should let them into the country, then we should let all 8 billion in, right? Every person has potential to help humanity, so we must bring them all to the US. God loves everyone, so open borders must be God's will. It's racist not to let the billion Chinese or Indians in simply because they can't walk here like all of South America. And perhaps most especially Al Qaeda and the gangs from Honduras, or really all criminals. God loves them and they need kindness and aid to prove that love. TEC is all about social justice and inclusiveness, they should get working on that.

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Jon White
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Actually, yes, I do think God would prefer a world without the artificially created borders that divide us. There is something in the Bible somewhere about no longer being Jew or Gentile... Things like nationalities and race are human creations, thus they are affected by human sinfulness. Further, a fair share of the responsibility of the failure of civil governments in places like Honduras lies in American policies. I think a better solution than mass immigration would probably be working in humility with those places to ensure they have stable governments and economies, as I imagine most of the refugees would prefer to stay there in their homes in the first place.

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Simon Burris
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Simon Burris

That is a genuinely clever bit of satire, and I have to admit that it hits home to a certain degree with me, a person who on the whole supports the idea of closed borders. The specific points you draw from the biblical narrative are especially effective, as they obviously parallel what I can imagine to be pretty common narratives given by asylum seekers at our border. So congratulations to you for producing some writing that has had real effect upon my thinking.

That said, I would like to point out that your use of "our" in the last sentence is one of my pet peeves with the writing on this site. I am talking about a "we" that the writers often use to name their opponents on various issues, e.g., "We tend to do this bad thing," "We are quick to judge." It comes across as condescending to this reader, even if I don't think it is intentionally done to annoy. It distracts from your project, I think.

Still, a good bit of writing, this.

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