Reading Paul’s letter to Corinth, while I reflect on Obama’s immigration speech

(I Corinthians 12: 12-26)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with United States.

Indeed, this country, any country, does not consist of one member but of many. If the many-times great grandchildren of Pilgrims were to say, ‘Because my ancestors were not on the Middle Passage’ that would not make them less a part of the body of this country.

And if the First Nations elders, people indigenous to this land, were to say, ‘Because we are not children from Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras detained on the border, we have not suffered in belonging to this country,’ that would not make a single tear less a part of the tragedy and history of this country.

If the whole nation were Christian or Muslim, where would Jew, Hindu, Baha’i, Latter Day Saint be? If the whole body were members of recognized religious faiths, where would come questions from which we all grow?

One receiving Social Security cannot say to the teenager with a first driver’s license, ‘I have no need of you’ for then we will all run off the road, nor again the Senator to the newly-home soldier, ‘I have no need of you.’ and vote a reduction of veteran’s benefits, for then the waving of flags will be thin as so much toilet paper.

On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, for those in Memory Loss Units can teach CEO’s and PhD’s how to sing, and those in ESL classes have liberty as a poetry of the heart.

God loves all the nations and gives no greater honor to any – but God has arranged the human heart in such a way that it loves its own land, its traditions, its Olympians, the colors of its flag, the tastes of the food of home. God has also given the spirit of hospitality so that in each country the newest and the wanderers may not face dissension.

If one immigrant from Liberia suffers, all suffer together; if long undocumented parents of Americans or children who have lived in fear rejoice, all rejoice together.

As it is, God arranged countries, like this one, with such diversity that there is incredible potential for good. And we, who are people of faith, are the ones who remember that each community is a body also of holiness, when individuals recognize they are members of one another.

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2 Responses to Reading Paul’s letter to Corinth, while I reflect on Obama’s immigration speech

  1. Thanks for these words. I share the hopeful moment I had yesterday, of interviewing three Academy seniors who are applying to my alma mater, all of whom are children of refugees who fled horrors in their homelands. And now they have these terrific kids, college bound, in the US. From Afghanistan, from Lebanon, from Armenia, they came. Now they need to come from Central America. With a chance, just a chance, they will blossom and grow.

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