The Orphan, the Widow, and the Immigrant

The Lord your God…executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the immigrants, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the immigrant, for you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.

                        -Deuteronomy 10:17-19

God’s concern for the orphan, the widow, and the immigrant is an ongoing Biblical refrain. We find it in Exodus, Leviticus,

Deuteronomy, Ruth, Job, the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Malachi. We hear it articulated by Jesus in the gospels (Matthew 25:35-40,  Luke 10:25-37, Mark 12:41-44). It prompts the creation of a deacons ministry in the book of Acts (6:1-6), and is proclaimed in New Testament epistles like Romans, Hebrews, and James. Orphans, widows, and immigrants frequently lack the support structures of family and of citizenship — resources vital to economic opportunity in times ancient and modern. It is for these especially vulnerable people that our God has deep compassion. And so God calls the faithful to their defense.

Immigration Ministry Team

In response to this call, Knox Presbyterian Church has explored what ministry to the orphan, widow, and immigrant might look like in our day. Over the last decade, Knox has developed partnerships with the Casa de la Esperanza orphanage in Mexico and Nagaluvancha home in India, allowing us to better understand and respond to the plight of orphans. Care for the widow is a classic theme of our deacons ministry, and led to partnerships with Elizabeth House and Union Station foundation.  And with the denigrating and scapegoating of immigrant peoples taking place today, as well as the shocking family separations that have taken place at the U.S./Mexico border, many of us have felt a particular call to act in defense of immigrants in new ways.

An immigration ministry team was formed at Knox in the Spring of 2017

Pastor Pablo Anabalon (Left), and members of Iglesia Del Pacto.

, and soon developed a relationship with an Hispanic congregation in Eagle Rock, Iglesia Del Pacto. Through conversation, scripture study, and prayer, the two congregations considered what faithful ministry to recent immigrants might involve. Following that discernment process, we are jointly launching care teams.  These teams, made up of members of both partner churches, will provide assistance for a family of recent immigrants.  And not only will the care teams provide tangible and pastoral support to people in need, they will have the chance to better understand the challenges and injustices immigrants can face. There will be a training for all those interested in being part of a care team on September 22nd.  I hope you will consider becoming a part of one.

Back in 2012, Ched Myers and I published Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice, which our immigration ministry team is making available to the congregation at a reduced price. The book was inspired by Christians whose faith-based advocacy on behalf of the immigrant we found especially compelling. I give thanks to God that so many believers today are discovering anew God’s heart for the vulnerable, and responding in service, solidarity, and love.

 

Pastor Matt

 

 

 

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