The Least of These
December 10, 2018
Henry has a nasty case of strep. He’s pitiful when he’s sick and his special needs become amplified. He will not willfully take medication and taking his temperature requires an act of God. When he is well, he is usually hanging from the ceiling and making me want to pull my hair out. When he is not well, he lays around and stares at the wall, uninterested in anything.
Every time he gets sick, I hear someone say, “seeing your baby sick is the worst thing.”
This is well intentioned, and it is wrong.
Today is Human Rights Day and I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the parents of young children in the caravan of asylum seekers at the US/Mexico border. I’ve found myself thinking that what they are living though is the worst thing.
And before anyone even starts with, “BuT oUr CoUnTrY! bUt oUr BoRdErS!” let me remind you that the only people with the right to make that claim are the Indigenous peoples of America. No one else. Everything that came after their land was stolen, their people assaulted, and their culture misappropriated – the laws, the borders, the society – is built upon those crimes. End of story.
These people at the border are people. They have inherent worth and dignity, they have histories and children and entire lives that they have left behind because what they are coming from is so terrible that they are willing to accept the risk of being persecuted, separated, and physically harmed for the chance at a better life.
It is December 10th – we are 15 days from Christmas. I am not Christian, but as far as I understand it, Christmas is about a child. A brown child. A refugee child. A child that no one expected and no one had room for. That child would grow up to say”
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Upon research, there seems to be some debate surrounding that verse and who “the least of these” really are. In my understanding of the Christian Messiah, I don’t think he would have cared, but many modern Biblical scholars now say that the verse refers only to downtrodden followers of Christ.
Good thing that upwards of 86% of Latin Americans practice some sort of Christianity.
I guess the point of this is all to say: Don’t call yourself a follower of Christ if you’re all about worshipping the brown baby in the manger but tear gassing the brown baby at the border. It’s an insult to Jesus and to those of his followers who use his name to spread his messages of love.
When I was a kid, those “WWJD” bracelets were a huge deal. I wonder what he would do now. I wonder if anyone would listen to a brown hippie telling us to love our neighbors when it’s so much easier to dehumanize and marginalize them instead.
Is an easy lazy thing
But to love
But not all are
Willing to practice”