Week of June 22, 2018
Welcoming the Huddled Masses
The analytical psychologist Carl Jung defined synchronicity as “meaningful coincidences with no causal relationship yet seeming to be meaningfully related.” This week I see synchronicity in the annual observance of the U.N.World Refugee Day (June 20); the tragic, painful, distressing governmental separation of children and parents at our southern border; and, in a book I am currently reading, The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels by Jon Meacham.
According to Wikipedia, World Refugee Day seeks to draw the public's attention to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, and persecution. The annual commemoration in more than 100 countries is marked by a variety of events that involve government officials, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, civilians, and the forcibly displaced themselves.
This week, here on American soil, we need no U.N. observance to draw our attention to the plight of refugees and those fleeing their homes due to violence and persecution. Thousands of adults - seeking asylum, seeking freedom, and seeking safety - are in detention for illegally crossing our borders. Thousands more children are in detention because their parents are being detained... because they resorted to desperate means in the hope of securing a place in America for their children. The politicians argue. The world looks at the bright city on a hill and wonders, “What has happened to America?
In his new book, Jon Meacham argues that throughout our history America has vacillated between reacting in fear and responding with hope. In different periods of crisis, fear has raised its ugly head leading to civil war, oppression of minorities, and rejection of the foreigner and immigrant. At times it has felt like our fears would crush our great experiment in representative democracy.
Meacham argues though, that through the leadership of progressive Presidents like the Roosevelts, Truman, and Johnson, America overcame its fears and offered a fresh ray of hope. The bad news, Meacham says, is that we live now in a time of widespread fear. The good news is that, in time, through visionary leadership and the deep goodness of the American soul, “our better angels” (Lincoln’s phrase) have prevailed. So we live with the hope these bad times, too, shall pass.
The French statesman Georges Clemenceau said, “War is too important to be left to the generals.” I think a corollary might be, “The legacy of American hospitality and the care of children are too important to be left to the politicians.”
I had two additional expressions of synchronicity this week. First, a church member dropped by to share the agony of her soul over what is happening with the children at the border, and to ask, “What can the church – even our church – do about this?” On Thursday, the PC(USA) General Assembly adopted a resolution on the separation of children at the border. I invite you to find a way to offer your own faith witness – through prayer; a note or call to your Congressman, our Senators, or the President; or, a contribution to a relief agency (including our own PC(USA) Disaster Assistance Fund).
And lastly, Meacham drew my attention back to those hope-filled words of Emma Lazarus that are emblazoned on the pedestal of the emblem of one of America’s better angels, the Statue of Liberty.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Thanks for listening,
Please keep in your prayers:
Those with special concerns:
- Jim Armstrong
- Ann Edmunds
- Mike Livingston
Members and family serving in the military:
- Edward Allen
- Jenny Sigel Burkett
- Matthew Horton
- Nathan Thomas Meade
Please let us know if you have a joy or concern that we may lift up in prayer. Contact Mary Kay Collins, or any of our pastors. If you are in immediate need of pastoral care, please call the church office at 358-2383. During night and weekend hours, your call will be transferred to a pastor on call.
Friday, June 22
Saturday, June 23
John Kay, III
Rob Louthan, Jr.
Sunday, June 24
Monday, June 25
Anton Van Thoen
Tuesday, June 26
Wednesday, June 27
Thursday, June 28
Charlie Luck, IV
Friday, June 29