“… my faith compelled and compels me to find a way to address the needs of the stranger.” The Rev. Bruce Reyes Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA, here
Have you ever been compelled to do something others might consider ridiculous? But you had to do it. And you had to do it not for your own resume or for your own pleasure or to draw attention to yourself, but because it’s the compassionate thing to do?
You just had to do it because of a deep inner tug moving you to . . .
- Use vacation time to help with someone else’s disaster recovery.
- Give money you were saving for a trip to pay a stranger’s bills.
- Adopt a child you can’t afford.
- Risk arrest for the sake of speaking up about what’s right.
When was the last time your faith in God moved you to do something wholly impractical or even dangerous?
One of the divides in our nation seems to be about this. There are People of Faith who cannot help but offer themselves in hands-on ways. And there are People of Faith who consider hands-on actions to be too political.
On December 10, hundreds of leaders from a variety of faith traditions gathered at the Southern border of the United States near San Diego to protest the treatment of migrants hoping to apply for asylum. About 32 were arrested, including several in my tradition. The social media comments have illustrated the differences between those who feel compelled to “do something” and those whose responses range from “God will take care of this problem” to “these protesters are liberal agents” to “being Christian means following the law.”
I was once asked in a pastor interview if there was any issue I would ever protest if they called me to be their minister. (This is was outside Washington, DC – the protest capital of the nation.) I answered something like this:
“Any issue? Of course there are things I would protest. Wouldn’t you?”
Can you think of anything you would risk arrest to speak out against or for? What would that be?
My hope is that – as People of Faith – there are many things we would stand up for or against. Some of us have schedules or family responsibilities that keep us from traveling to San Diego to support asylum seekers. But we thank those who are compelled to participate.
And some of us roll our eyes or openly criticize those willing to be arrested in support of asylum seekers. But I ask, “Is there anything you would be willing to stand up for/speak up against for the sake of what you say you believe?”