[June 20, 2019] The Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop of West Texas, offered the following statement on World Refugee Day:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Grace to you and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord! In these long hot days of summer, I pray as St. Paul does, that the Father grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:16-17).
As the immigration crisis continues to roil and divide our beloved country, we find our souls as stressed as our legal and political systems. Our desire to act wisely and compassionately, to “Walk in love, as Christ loved us,” collides with the enormity and complexity of the issues. And what we are experiencing within the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas is only a small piece of the human migration occurring worldwide, a movement of peoples that will likely be with us for many years to come.
A simple solution to this crisis does not exist, but we
can be instruments of God's grace and peace. We cannot do everything, but for Christ's sake, we can do
A number of our clergy and people
are doing something to alleviate the human suffering along the border and farther north. I commend them for the hope and healing they offer, for their persistent love in the face of suffering. I commend them to your prayers and as worthy of our support. They are seeking to serve Christ in the person standing in front of them, whether asylum seeker or Border Patrol agent. Our clergy and churches did not go looking for this ministry; they did not rally to "an issue." They are seeking to respond faithfully to those in need arriving in their communities and on their doorstep.
We can and should, and desperately need to, have informed, respectful debate on our country’s immigration laws and policies. But the time for that is not when a weary, confused, and hungry person stands before you, whether that person wears tattered clothes or a dark green uniform.
To be angry and resentful is easy, a reaction that takes little imagination. To become cynical is to reject the hope of Christ. To love and to care is much harder, requiring that we extend grace and mercy to one another and to ourselves, but acting in love and choosing to care is the life into which we've been baptized. To love and to care is the Way of Christ, and the way of the Kingdom.
Consider carefully the ways you and your church might offer support to those who are serving. Read prayerfully Matthew 25:31-45, and remember Jesus' words about how when we serve those in great need, offering a cup of cold water, sharing a meal, we are serving Him.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
David M. Reed
Bishop of West Texas