But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’Luke 9:47-48
Father’s Day is approaching, and I will long for my son who is away and will soon depart for ROTC boot camp. I love him with a love that knows no boundaries. The separation will be painful, and I will pray for his safety. I will ask Jesus to hold him close and embrace him within a holy presence.
I cannot imagine being forcibly separated from my child. Throughout Holy Scripture, God is continually seeking to be united with us. So much so, that God sent Jesus Christ. Scripture is clear that evil scatters and God unites. Separation and scattering are occurring in our country.
Today, children are crying for their parents. Tonight a child will sit alone in the darkness because of a policy. Each moment that a child endures this separation is horrific, inhumane, and unnatural. It counters every verse in scripture to be one with God, one another and as a family.
This is a moment in time when our faith and life must be in Jesus Christ. This is a time when our faith must become a reality. This is the moment when we can shine the light of Jesus into the darkness of despair. This is a moment when our leaders have the opportunity to bring peace.
I am speaking as an American, a bishop of the Episcopal Church and someone who has given my life to Jesus Christ. I am asking that Christians of all denominations raise their collective voice against the policy of forcibly separating children from their parents if they are caught at the borders. This policy must end today.
For one holy moment, let us place aside political parties and personal partisan mindsets. In this sacred moment let us cast aside blame, the past, policies, laws or the reasons parents have chosen to immigrate. They are excuses for living in darkness and for not seeking the light. We believe in life, we believe in family.
I am pleading that we not, nor do we, confuse the issue of separating children from their families from the technical legalities of immigration. Separating children from their parents violates God’s Law. God’s law is not beholden to the laws of man: “But Peter and the apostles answered and said, ‘We must obey God rather than men.'” (Acts 5:29).
This is not who we are as citizens of the United States. This is not who we are as people who carry the name of Jesus Christ. People of faith and conscience, this has to be changed today. A child’s future is in our hands. Our collective conscience is on display.
We are better than this. Let us raise our collective voice and show the world why Jesus matters. Let us demonstrate why Jesus is the answer to the problems that confound society, and that His followers actually believe it.
Take this moment to imagine the terror a child is enduring by being removed from his or her parent. The pain, isolation, fear, and despair. As Christians, this pain must touch our faith and our lives. On this Father’s Day, let us give the gift and light of Christ to a child who sits apart from their family. Through prayer, I hope you are moved to express your faith and beliefs to those that represent you at all levels of government.
May God bless America and may God bless us all.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23