“Where Do We Go from Here?” – an Excerpt from Christians at the Border by M. Daniel Carroll R.

The following is an excerpt from chapter 5 of Christians at the Border, Second Edition: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R.

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The church must regain the vision of being a distinct community, a distinct community made up of ordinary individuals (resident aliens) with a calling to be faithful to its Lord.

Christians are to display the life of Jesus, and this requires acquiring a set of virtues, like peaceableness, kindness, hospitality, and patience. Christians and the church need to be a certain kind of people with a particular way of looking at and living within society. For the church to be the church requires training in these virtues, the nurturing of Christian tradition through Word and sacrament, and the continual practice of the virtues.

Christians, both of the majority culture and Hispanic, are not to exclude the “other,” whether Christian or non-Christian. We are all called to embrace the “other.” We can embrace those who are different—and even those who have offended or wronged us—because we have embraced Jesus, who calls us to a self-sacrificing life for others. We embrace him, because he first embraced us. We take up that cross of forgiveness and hospitality because he took up his.

This embrace of the other—the majority culture by the Hispanic and the Hispanic by the majority culture—will be a “soft embrace.” The resident aliens of the majority culture (1 Pet. 2:11) will embrace the resident aliens from elsewhere. Both will be respectful and mindful of cultural differences, open to grow and change. This transformation will be reciprocal and mutual, personal and communal, in confidence of moving toward the common good, yet with great risk.

Assured of the teaching of the Word, the empowerment of the Spirit, the example of Jesus, and the blessing of the Father, Christians can be the light of the Triune God in this national confusion that sometimes can be so dark. Let the journey to reconciliation begin. May the church lead the way.

©2013 by M. Daniel Carroll R. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.