Every day, politicians demand that the government “fix” the border problem. We already know that the “45th mistake”, aka former president, showed us what stupidity looked like and wasted billions of the hard-earned tax dollars on ineffective “fixes.” More recently, incompetent governors of Texas and Florida, fueled by their ability-exceeding political ambitions, have dominated the news with their illegal, immoral, and unethical bussing antics. Modern history is demonstrating that the ingenuity of the desperate will supersede foolish concoctions of idiocy and hatred, and the kinship of caring and faithful will rise with the power of love.
The fundamental problem of the border is that the national boundary is a powerful concept that is contrary to natural existence. Birds, in search of food, fly as they wish, ignoring the borders of cities, counties, and nations. For example, the Whimbrel, the Pacific Flyway, travels from its breeding grounds in the Artic tundra to the southern Chile for the winter and does not stop registering at any national border checkpoints along its route.
The problem with the border is that it is insecure by nature. The securest political border we know of today is the DMZ, the demilitarized zone in Korea, which has more than 100,000 soldiers on two sides of 2.5 miles of a fenced gap filled with millions of landmines. Even with all that, it is not 100% secure as people cross that regularly.
The Bible shows that Abraham’s father immigrated from Iraq to Turkey to take care of his family. Abraham moved to Canaan in search of a better life, the sons of Jacob migrated to Egypt in search of food during a famine, and Jesus’ parents escaped to Egypt as political and religious refugees. Paul’s movement in Asia Minor and early Christian believers’ migration westward to avoid persecution is well documented. The story of Jesus would have disappeared quickly and quietly had there been a passport and visa requiring national borders.
The story of Exodus is to remind us that even in the barren desert, God will provide food and water. The story of Manna reminds us not to hoard because God will provide what we need every day. Matthew reminds us that since birds do not worry about tomorrow because God cares for them, we, too, should not worry but trust. While the Bible tells us that if we share, we will have more, instead, we choose to believe the lie that says if we share, then we will have less. The Church believes we live in a Godless world.
The concept of a national border is a spiritual failure. We claim to believe in God, and we claim to believe in the Bible, but the painful truth is that U.S. Christianity does not know God or the Bible. The answer for the border problem is in the Bible, but instead, we choose to call God a liar and turn to incompetent and incapable politicians for an answer. No solution offered by politicians will solve problems politics has created. The border is about power, not people.
When I was a young adult, I lived in a house we affectionately called “Home for Unwed Boys,” and one of them was Jim, a medical doctor. I often asked him, “Doc, I have a headache; what do you recommend?” His regular response was, “Amputate.” I moved my arm and said, “Doc, when I do this, it hurts,” and his medical advice was, “Stop doing that.”
Dr. Jim’s whimsical wisdom was more profound than the intended humor. We are pained by the problems at the border, but if we stop trying to force the border, the pain will go away. Let us welcome the spiritual sojourners and share shalom with them.
As the sacred text tells us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that, some have entertained angels without knowing it.”