This morning, my scripture readings put the thousands of women, men, and children walking north from Honduras and Guatemala on my heart. But not only them but the millions of others who are displaced, seeking a better place, seeking safety, seeking shelter, seeking welcome.
This morning, I read the following in Micah 3:5
Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths.
I wonder what those who are walking north have to eat. I wonder how much water they have to drink as they walk in the hot sun. I wonder how dark the road looks ahead of them as they take one step and another and another, knowing that many in The country they are hoping to reach want nothing more than to turn them away. I heard an interview with one man who had lived in Boston for many years before being deported. He simply said that he wanted to get back to see his daughter and to be able to go to sleep in a place where he didn’t have to worry about a gang randomly attacking his home. And yet I am preparing to make dinner once I finish writing this post.
To me, what I think I desperately long for most right now in our world is greater compassion. People who are fleeing violence and oppression did not choose the situation in which they found themselves. People who have lived under the yoke of unjust economic and social policies that go back not just years but centuries did not choose to have these situations befall them. Innocents who happened to live in the line of fire between nations did not choose to have their homes destroyed. People walking north today yes made a choice to walk but they did not choose the conditions that they are fleeing.
This morning I also read the story of Bartimaeus being healed in Mark 10:46-52. Part of it that really spoke to me in the midst of all of this is the number of people who tried to quiet Bartimaeus. They didn’t want to let him cry out to Jesus as he was doing. And we are still doing the same thing today. The voices of those who feel voiceless are crying out and by my actions and my inaction (I’m owning my own stuff here – but I suspect that it should be “our” and not just “my”) we are trying to silence them. By a focus on scarcity and a belief that there isn’t enough employment opportunities, money, services, housing, etc we feel that too many “others” coming in will cause some unnamed calamity.
But here’s the beautiful thing about Bartimaeus’ story – over the voices of those trying to drown him out, Jesus heard that one voice calling to him. And Jesus is hearing the voices of those who are walking, fleeing, seeking hope. But Jesus didn’t just go to Bartimaeus, but he instructed those very people trying to silence him to invite him to come. Jesus is doing the same for me and for us all. He is calling me and us to listen to the voice of the voiceless with love and compassion. Will we listen?
There was a part of the devotion I read on Bartimaeus’ story that speaks into this. I have modified it (in italics) to focus on those who are crying out as the original was focused on us.
If we’re not careful, they may start believing that what they have to say doesn’t matter, which can lead to the belief that what they think doesn’t matter, which can lead to the belief that what they feel doesn’t matter, which can lead to the belief that who they are doesn’t matter.
But they do matter to Jesus just as I matter to Jesus just as we all matter to Jesus.
Praying for those who are walking the long road this day.