Kingdoms. This picture is Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. The left wall is Mexico and the right wall is the United States, which means the milky brown river below is the Rio Grande. Two kingdoms, with different rules and different cultures, separated by a scrawny little river, not much bigger than a creek. It is truly an impressive sight. I was there recently with a group of men from ACF Northwest. Yes, yes - we clapped and whistled to hear the echo off the canyon walls. Boys will be boys.
When we left this scene, a few of us began to discuss the exciting topic of…immigration. Fun, huh? The day before we had visited some hot springs right on the Rio Grande and swam over to Mexico’s side of the river, then back; a journey that for many that starts with hope and ends in deportation.
As we drove home, I couldn’t help but wonder why the topic was so complex. I understand there’s a proper, legal immigration process. I am not in favor of folks living in our land without becoming legal citizens, paying taxes, which cover services like education and health care, as well as issues related to our national security. But I have also worked on both sides of the border and seen people with great need, who have been denied access after a long journey. So, I am in no way suggesting that I have a simple solution to our complex issue.
However, when I look at that little river, I want my country to be a land that shares her freedom with those who need it. I want us to be the country described in the poem mounted on a plaque, at the Statue of Liberty:
"With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I believe we should work like crazy to protect our country and uphold our laws. And yet, we're called to do what is right, to love mercy and to care for the poor. Man-made things, whether they are physical or ideas by which we rule and govern ourselves, are destined to come against challenges that will cause them to break down over time. Only the things of GOD, like the Word of GOD, will stand the test of eternity. I’m thankful my desire to be a part of a kingdom that will always open her doors to anyone is fulfilled in GOD’s Kingdom.
“So, don’t be afraid little flock. For it gives your FATHER great happiness to give you The Kingdom.”
(Luke 12:32 NLT)
The payment for entry into this Kingdom wasn’t cheap. And it wasn’t easy. But, it was purchased; our Savior, with HIS blood, through HIS death and resurrection, paid for our citizenship. Our only requirement is to confess our need to HIM and receive HIS Kingdom. Friend, you and I could never work hard enough, long enough or smart enough to earn this freedom. It has been granted to us.
"For GOD made CHRIST, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with GOD through CHRIST.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)