Caring for the immigrant – Compassion and church

Monday morning January 11, the Denver Post had a front page article about Federal Government plans to develop a temporary housing facility at the Lakewood Federal Center for 1000 children emigrating to the U.S. from non-contiguous South American countries. The center is scheduled to open April 1.

The children, aged 14-17, would be cared for in Lakewood for somewhere around 30 days. All their care would be provided in the compound there and 90% of them will be making connections to family in the U.S.

There will be some push back and drama connected to this plan and how should the church respond? The church should respond with prayer, compassion and love.

When the church prays for the kingdom of God to move in ways we cannot understand or even explain to care for and protect children the church functions exactly as God has intended it to. I’m encouraging all churches in Lakewood to publically pray for the children that will be housed temporarily in Lakewood.

The church should offer compassion to any and all immigrants. The bible calls on the people of God to offer the displaced of every age the love of God. Believers are the very touch of God’s mercy. These children have suffered unimaginable things and there is nothing they need more than compassion.

The church should love the immigrant. Not just tolerate, or serve but love immigrants. Throughout scripture believers are called “aliens and strangers.” The posture of passing through is the very heart of what faith is about in a temporary life lived in a temporary place. When we love immigrants we offer them the hope that we are called to know and trust our lives to.

I’m praying for these children and I’m praying for God’s church. Let the world rage on in the handwringing spirit of doomsday paranoia. But my prayer is that the church takes up the cause and call of compassion so the distinctive character of faith can be clearly displayed for all to see!

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