I have been working on a Summer Worship Series on The Gospel According to Mr. Rogers for the church I serve. We kicked off last week with Children’s Day and a theme of “You Are Special”.
This week we ask the question “Who is my neighbor?” and look through the lens of the Good Samaritan Story.
Like all things Mr. Rogers the keys are kindness and helping, one person at a time, one community at a time- and not just *your* community, as a minister Mr. Roger’s sense of community was all the world.
This is the cover of the bulletin this week.
As I do the (sometimes) tedious job of writing liturgy for this sermon series I couldn’t be more excited about I take short breaks between calls to worship, confessions, and hymns to look at email and social media.
It started last week when the video of Senator Jeff Merkley was denied entry into a detention center for migrant children. This started to highlight the rule of separating children from their parents as a “deterrent” to keep people from crossing the US boarder illegally.
The most recent story as I write this is a baby taken from a mother while breastfeeding.
I’m sick. I’m sad. It hurts.
Who is my neighbor? Like Mr. Rogers said, the world is and I share responsibility, yet I feel powerless.
I call my senators, and feel hopeless, I don’t understand what’s becoming of humanity and the disassociation I think people are having. The same people who support these policies are the same people who say they just want some “decency” back.
It is not unlike the stories I read last week when my husband and I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. In the very beginning after the journey downward into darkness there is an exhibit of artifacts from the São José Shipwreck. I could not find the quotes that accompany the artifacts, but they are from the crews of these enslavement ships talking not about the deep guttural cries coming from a people torn from their homes and imprisoned in such inhumane circumstances.
Many crew members killed themselves from the pain of the sounds.
Who is my neighbor? And what kind of neighbor am I when I am jailing your children?
I turn again to social media and my timeline is filled with stories like these. I can hear the heart wrenching screams of parents and children.
Many of my friends are asking the question that if these were the practices of Egypt when Joseph and Mary had appeared at the boarder with their infant son, what would have happened (Matthew 2:13)?
Who is my neighbor?
What is my responsibility?
What kind of neighbor am I?
Migrant workers jailed for crossing our boarders to pick our tomatoes risking their health not only in the sun, but from all the pesticides on our food so we have a perfect unblemished slice on our Wendy’s burger.
Have we no shame? Do we not hear their cries?
I don’t have an answer, just a paralyzing sadness.