By Don Plummer
Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright addressed the crisis at our southern border in his weekly For Faith devotional on Friday, June 28.
Wright, who has frequently spoken out on other issues such as gun violence, access to healthcare, and prison reform, said of his devotional message that “the Christian Gospels compel believers to think, pray and act when groups or governments take actions that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.”
In his recent For Faith piece, “Nowhere”, Wright reflects on the Biblical passage in which Jesus says that he and his followers will often be at odds with the values of those focused on their own welfare over that of others.
Jesus remarked he had, “…nowhere to lay his head.” There’s a haunting sadness in that phrase. He said it after being turned away by two villages. He said it to warn his friends that following him would lead to nowhere for them. Recently we’ve seen images of small children sleeping on cold cement floors without blankets or pillows. Some say they deserve “nowhere to lay their head” because they’re “immigrant detainees.” Jesus’ life and teachings offer a window into the mind of God and a critique of the world we’ve created. Therefore, the gospel is always political but never partisan. Always an indictment lying beside an invitation.
Jesús comentó que no tenía, “… ningún lugar para recostar su cabeza”. Hay una tristeza inquietante en esa frase. Lo dijo después de ser rechazado por dos aldeas. Lo dijo para advertir a sus amigos de que seguirlo les conduciría a ninguna parte. Recientemente, hemos visto imágenes de niños pequeños durmiendo en pisos de cemento frío sin mantas o almohadas. Algunos dicen que no merecen “ningún lugar para recostar la cabeza” porque son “detenidos inmigrantes”. La vida y las enseñanzas de Jesús ofrecen una ventana a la mente de Dios y una crítica del mundo que hemos creado. Por lo tanto, el evangelio es siempre político pero nunca partidista. Siempre una acusación al lado de una invitación.
The chosen passage, Luke 9: 51-62, designated to be read in Episcopal Church services and those of many other Christian denominations on June 30, is part of The Revised Common Lectionary, a three-year cycle of weekly Bible readings used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States.
The Diocese of Atlanta is fully committed to welcoming all, including those fleeing oppression, war or violence, Wright said. “We provide immigrants with direct services and referrals to qualified immigration programs.” For more information, click here.
Wright said an example of sustained action being taken to address the needs of immigrants include regular visits by members of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus and other area parishes to El Refugio, a ministry of hospitality to the families of men detained at one of the nation’s largest immigrant detention centers in Stewart.
Other examples, Wright said, are the Diocese’s partnerships with New American Pathways, Path to Shine, New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta, Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministries, a dozen thriving Hispanic congregations, as well as free mental health support services for Immigrants.
“Faith without works is hollow and a disservice to the message brought to the world by Jesus,” Wright said. “I pray daily that I and others avoid the lure of comfort and pomp that leads us astray from the fingernail dirty ministry that our Savior modeled.”
The Right Reverend Robert C. Wright is the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta which is comprised of 118 worshiping communities in middle and north Georgia.
Bishop Wright’s weekly For Faith devotional is based on the week’s Gospel reading designated for use throughout the Episcopal Church.
Don Plummer is The Diocese of Atlanta’s Media and Community Relations Coordinator. Don can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.