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At the Border Part 4: Last Day Reflections

Today is my last day in San Diego, and I am sick. Too sick to go to the border. In our training we learned that many of our friends waiting to cross the border have compromised immune systems, and that our germs could significant harm them. So I’m stuck here in San Diego, but perhaps it’s a good opportunity to process what I’ve seen and experienced these past few days. Yesterday started off slow. In the morning we accompanied several of our friends as they prepared to present themselves at the border. Among them was the second half of a family that had been separated a few days before. They were visibly anxious, perhaps wondering when, how, or if they would be reunited with their father and

At the Border Part 3: First, the Good

First, the good. Today, after a brief time of accompanying folks preparing to present for asylum, we hopped in our cars for drive over to Friendship Park in Tijuana. We were going there to attend a service of the bi-national “Border Church.” Friendship Park, despite the fact that there was a giant wall running through the middle of it, was beautiful on the Tijuana side. The wall had been painted with brightly colored murals that said things like, “love trumps hate,” and “only the weak are cruel.” The service itself was moving, especially when folks on both sides of the border approached the wall, and after placing our hands on the wall, offered a prayer of confession. After the prayer, the p

At the Border Part 2: We Are All Bound Together

Dear Friends, It’s been a long but good first day on the ground here in San Diego. Today was devoted to training with fellow recently arrived volunteers. There were about a dozen of us-- different ages, different backgrounds, and different reasons for being at the border. But we discovered that there was one thing that we all had in common, which was a deep belief in our interconnectedness with our fellow humans seeking safety within our borders. There are many different ways of summing up the sentiment being expressed by all of us today. ‘I am because you are.’ ‘We are all human together.’ ‘We are all one.’ Perhaps given the approaching MLK holiday, it is most fitting to lift up King’s very

At the Border Part 1: Migrants and Legalities

I’m on the second leg of my journey west—a five-hour flight from Charlotte, NC to San Diego. I’m not one that is able to sleep well on plane flights, and so since I’ve got nowhere else to go at the moment, I thought I would jot down some initial thoughts. My official training is not until Friday, but in my time sitting around airports today I looked at some of the online training materials. One piece of information in particular caught my attention in one of the training videos. “What does a person HAVE to do in order to claim asylum,” asked the trainer at the front of a classroom. “What is the one thing they absolutely must do before they can make their claim?” A voice from the back of the

Baptism and Identity

Luke 3:15–17, 21–22 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form lik

Home By Another Road

Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd

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