Today was the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel of Luke, 9:51-62, reminds us– Jesus is unwavering in his commitment to his mission in Jerusalem. He calls his disciples to a similar single-mindedness.
Today at St Mark, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our community garden during Children’s Time and after worship at a special luncheon. We give thanks for this important ministry. However, Pastor Beth said she felt the Holy Spirit nagging her to preach a different sermon than a garden sermon.
She said her dad loved all three of his children and he did what he could to provide opportunities for all of his children. She told us how Pastor Eric loves their two children and how her love for him grows because of his commitment to their children.
When she saw the photograph of the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter, Valeria, washed up on the banks of the Rio Grande River, because they drowned crossing the border of Mexico and the United States, she cried. Her first reaction was to turn away because it was gut wrenchingly painful to see. The more she thought about what that family had gone through, the more she realized we can’t turn away.
If they make it into the USA, parents and children are being separated. Most of the people seeking asylum are not criminals. They are brothers and sisters in Christ seeking a better life. Their situation confronts us and we cannot not turn away.
Jesus invites us to follow him. He only asks that we don’t turn away. He invites us to step outside our comfort zone and follow him..
God welcomes all His people to the table. God is desperately in love with us and wants to give life in all it’s fullness to all His children. We can’t look away from Oscar and Valeria. Today Jesus asks us to follow Him and turn toward those in need.
Jesus is leading us to the very heart of God to stand with the poor and oppressed.
(If you are seeking a way to support migrant children, please click on the video link below. Jennifer DeLeon, Director for Justice for Women of the ELCA, explains how you can help migrants at the border. To help, you may send a check to Women of the ELCA with AMMPARO Border Ministries on the memo line to 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago IL, 60631. One hundred percent of your donations go to support migrants.)