Since Trump was elected there has been a significant amount of anger in marginalized communities. That's because it is easier to angry than it is to be sad and afraid. There is sadness at the fragility of our lives with Hurricanes like Harvey, incidents like Charlottesville and fear at the immense instability with decisions like the one to end DACA. Especially among our minority, impoverished and immigrant neighbors this fear of violence and discrimination is not imagined or made up but real every day - including those in our churches, on our campuses, and staff teams.
Specifically concerning DACA, InterVarsity is a ministry to faculty students and staff, many of whom are not from the United States. And still many who are undocumented, brought here as children. This is not just an issue IN Intervarsity, this IS Intervarsity. Some IV Staff are immigrants, were undocumented and have family, donors and friends who are undocumented. Undocumented students are small group leaders, chapter presidents, and need Jesus on campus. We have alumni and donors who are able to flourish because of DACA and just immigration decisions. If you are a pastor or small group leader reading this - this is true of you and those under your leadership as well.
If we do not respond in obedience to Jesus, we are not living into our identity as ministers of reconciliation following Jesus in word, deed and power to reach every nation with the Good News of Jesus Christ by the power of Holy Spirit. Christians are no longer sons and daughters of disobedience and therefore are His workmanship looking more and more like Jesus every day. Thus seeking justice and loving mercy are an outworking of His reconciliation with us through Christ.
IMPORTANT NOTE* We do not need to have the same views on comprehensive immigration reform, agree on amnesty or a path to citizenship or be members of the same political party to love the stranger and immigrant in our midst. God does not invite us to be unanimous, He commands us to be obedient. Christians are to respond to scripture and follow Jesus as Lord. Our citizenship in the Kingdom of God overrules our citizenship to nation or state. Our allegiance to the Kingdom of God is above that of our allegiance to the United States and any country at all times if we are followers of Jesus. And, as InterVarsity Staff and ministers of the Gospel, responding to the needs of those among us is NOT OPTIONAL, but necessary. We will be known by the fruit that we bear and be held eternally accountable to how we care for those in need.
Some practical ways to practice and lead students and the university community in the ministry of reconciliation particularly around DACA are here:
1. There is real fear, sadness, pain, anger, shock, disappointment and other unprocessed emotions that must be brought to Jesus in communities that will listen, empathize, and receive. Here are exercises that can facilitate that:
- Writing yourself into scripture (Psalm Exercise): Bring your emotions to God with the Psalms as model and cry out to Him.
- Teach Us How to Pray: Walk through the pattern of how Jesus taught us to pray and bring this pain, lament and desire for something MORE to God in prayer and worship.
- Lament, Confess, Repent, Reconcile: This is the process of coming alongside those who are suffering and marginalized. These 4 steps in community with others in the midst of crisis are a pattern that we can faithfully follow with Christ at the center.
2. Get to know the stranger in your midst.
- This Where I'm From Poem poem exercise creates a context to hear someone's story and share your own.
- This "Ethnic Identity Interview" and workshop is a great thing to check out and go through with those around you of different backgrounds and cultures.
3. There is no reconciliation without displacement. We must stand in solidarity with those who are victims of misuse and abuse of power using our power to work on their behalf.
- 4P's: Pray, Purchase, Partner, Policy is the process we use to identify how we are to respond to the needs of those around us in word, deed and power w/ Jesus at the center. For a more robust explanation, visit here.
- This article by Cristina Cleveland is also extremely helpful in discerning next steps as we enter into the lives of those who are suffering.
I pray that these resources bless you, your ministry and those who are before you. If you are a pastor or small group leader, these resources are also for you and you are free to use them for your congregation and context.
Finally, we serve a God that is bigger than injustice, Sovereign over the chaos, and holds all things together. Would your weapon in the midst of all suffering be unyielding praise to the Only Wise God, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by the power of Holy Spirit.
If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.