Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. – Malachi 3:5
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably aware that on January 27, 2017 an executive order was issued to place a 90-day hold on the issuance of visas into the United States for persons from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia. That executive order was temporarily shut down by a federal judge in Seattle on February 4. By the time you read this blog this story will, no doubt, have evolved further.
The original order stirred up some strong feelings in people. OK, that’s a bit of an understatement! As has become normative these days, opinions about the order are profoundly polarized. Some people were incensed that Muslims were targeted and that vulnerable refugees were being turned away. Others were thrilled that our government was finally pausing to evaluate how to best protect our borders and our national security. Most of the people I spoke with couldn’t comprehend how someone could see it differently than they did.
But in my conversations I discovered at least one commonality: they all shared a deep concern for vulnerable refugees. Opponents of the executive order might find that hard to believe, but it’s true. My point here isn’t to take sides on the issue; it’s to suggest that in addition to actively advocating for our personal positions we also choose to act on our common concern for the welfare of vulnerable refugees. And to that end, I have a suggestion.
Throughout this entire week, we are participating in a Feed My Starving Children mobile meal pack. Thousands of people from dozens of local churches and civic groups will link arms in Apple Valley to pack millions of meals for starving children, including refugees in places like Syria. You’re welcome to join this vitally important work. There’s room for you! You’ll find more information about volunteering and donating here.
No matter where you stand on the issues of immigration, refugees and our borders, let’s work together as Christ-followers to obediently follow God’s clear command to care for “the least of these” among us in the world, especially orphans, widows and the refugee.
Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN