The Congregation at Duke University Chapel


photo of Andrew

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:10-12
In eNews a few weeks ago, I shared some of my spiritual journey toward owning my racism and how a class in Divinity School helped me to wake up to the ways I participate in a culture of white supremacy. It was, and continues to be, a rude awakening: one that requires me to repent again and again as I am confronted by my sin of silence and complacency.
So when I sat down to read the passage above from Romans, one of the lectionary texts from this past Sunday, St. Paul's call to "wake from sleep" grabbed me, and would not let me go.
Christ IconMy mind went immediately to an image, the icon of Christ pictured here, that had caused another rude awakening in my life. It was my wife Sarah who first showed me this icon, written by a Franciscan friar, as she was praying for her patients, many of whom are undocumented migrants. While I had long known the biblical mandate to welcome the sojourner and stranger, there was something startling about seeing Jesus depicted as an migrant. The imagine shook me awake, and I began to see debates about immigration policy not as abstract conversations about borders and quotas, but as decisions of flesh and blood, life and death.
In the coming days and weeks, there will a national conversation about immigration, especially in light of a recent decision to end deferred action for DREAMers, children of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States and have been allowed to remain. Immigration policy is complicated and a solution is unclear; our representatives need our prayers for wisdom and compassion now more than ever.
Yet this is clear: now is the time to wake from our sleep, lay aside the darkness of fear and violence, and put on the armor of light that allows us to welcome the stranger and protect the immigrant. We must be awake to this: the deportation of flesh and blood people in whom we meet Jesus is part of the dark night which is far gone. As Christians, we live in the bright day of welcome for all, and look for the coming day when justice will roll down for all God's people.
As we enter this time of conversation and debate, will you join me in staying awake and helping others wake up? Keep up with the news, talk with your neighbors, and if you feel so led, call your members of Congress. Tell them this: "love is the fulfillment of the law."
Together, we can remind each other what time it is.