Hell, I didn’t even want to go…I didn’t care for or about Mexicans, but she thought it God’s work and promised cheap jewelry at the mercado after I had pleased the Lord by packing a couple hundred Gospels of John around in 100 degree heat.
We had just crossed the border line on top of the bridge that connects El Paso and Juarez when a young woman ran up to me, pulled up her pant leg and showed me an infected wound that exposed the bone. The red lines that scream of sepsis were glowing in both directions from the hole and I wondered how she could even walk.
I gagged from the sight and the smell of dying flesh.
She wanted a dollar.
My lady friend advised me that if I gave everyone a dollar that asked, I’d be broke before we got off the bridge.
I gave her a dollar and a Bible because I had to do…something.
Just then the wind shifted and the smell of raw sewage hit me in the face.
This, I was told to get used to…the sewers didn’t work well here.
There were posters everywhere with pictures of missing women, tied with pink ribbons.
Juarez was hot, poor, dirty, and dangerous and I’d never been so confused by anything in my life.
The pain and poverty were unlike anything I’d ever seen…and so was the joy.
People lined up to get a colorful copy of the Gospel of John and thanked us loudly and profusely for bringing them.
On the other side of the bridge they threw them back in our face…
On the outskirts of the city, where the dust was ankle deep and the homes were made of tires and pallets, they would invite us in to the shacks and want to share the little they had.
They ministered far more to me than I did to them
I was born again, again in that terrible, wonderful, place.
I was given the love of the “other” by the grace and power of God and I would never be the same again.
My friends and family will tell you that I became obsessed with the place and it’s people and over the years became somewhat knowledgable about both.
I was compelled by the love of God.
I’m still compelled by that love, but when I speak of love I’m told about politics.
Where I meet Jesus , I’m told that the important names are Trump or Obama.
Where I see suffering human beings, others see issues.
These children are not like our children, the parents not like us…I do not understand how this can be, but some think it so.
I’m called a “leftist” or a “liberal” when I never feel more “Christian” than when I’m trying to serve the least of these by word or deed.
My brethren have demanded I change my heart and quiet my voice or be excluded from their grace…I have often exchanged my silence for a measure of their acceptance.
I can’t do that anymore.
To stay silent is to deny the work that Christ did in me, it is (for me) to willingly choose to leave the sheep and join the goats because there’s safety in numbers.
I am not naive to the fact that there are political issues involved in these matters.
There will be political solutions, for better or worse.
Those, as they say, are above my pay grade.
My hope is that those solutions will be grounded in the love of God that is poured out on the poor, the oppressed, and all those who need mercy.
If they are not, my prayer is that the church chooses to act as such anyway.
We only serve one name , one Lord, one Master, one King of kings.
He loves without labels and beyond borders.
So must I…His love compels me.
Make your own application…