Dear Congress: “the one who loves another has fulfilled the law”

With the DACA challenge, President Trump has given you, the Christian members of congress -- those who try to follow Jesus, who proclaim Christ Lord and Savior --  an incredible opportunity to show the world the heart of the Christian faith.

The song of our faith has been sung in various ways and keys, with lots of strange embellishments, but the melody has always been God’s surprising grace, the incredible lengths God will go to meet us even in the midst of our brokenness, with love.

And so, DACA: Imagine that you are presented with the following reality: a woman is 28 years old. She has a college degree, a two-year-old son, a full-time job. She was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was six. To deport her to a country she barely remembers -- is this the loving thing to do? To take away legal status, placing her in constant fear of deportation -- is this the loving thing to do? Would you want someone to do this to you, or your sister, if you had been brought by your parents to a neighboring country when you were not yet old enough to even read a sign, let alone know the law?

I trust I already know your heart’s response. “No. This is not loving; this is not love of neighbor.”

I imagine that the conversation might quickly jump to other neighbors, other people you want to love. That’s okay; but let’s stay here for a moment, with this simple truth, with this woman. Because this is the neighbor before you in the next three months. There will be ample opportunity to love others, as indeed we should. As a man or woman of great accomplishment, you already know that we are not talking about sentimental love; we are talking about the kind of loving action that sums up the ten commandments and all the previous laws about right living, according to both Jesus and the apostle Paul.

Ah, but the law of the land, you say. I have an obligation to uphold the law.

But here is the most exciting part: you have the power, the ability, to change the law. (!) As you know, in a representative democracy, you have been entrusted with that authority. Maybe the people who elected you didn’t know you were Christian. Maybe they did. It doesn’t matter. Now, you have a chance to witness to the deeply Christian claim that “love is the fulfilling of the law.” That which fulfills is also the measuring stick: in God’s reign or kingdom, the law serves the love of God and neighbor, not the other way around. You and I both know it doesn’t always work that way in this life. But here is a marvelous chance to extend a bit of God’s kingdom, God’s way, right here in the United States.

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; ...  the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13) 

This fall is an opportunity to fulfill the law that matters most to you, as you're faced with 800,000 neighbors who await your action. My prayer is that all of us Christians do a better job fulfilling that holy law before worrying too much about what the world wants of us. 

Sincerely,

a sister in Christ

P.S. I know this would be surprising for many of your constituents, and the world. But the Christian life is about transformation, not consistency. Surprise the world! Are we trying our best to live out the love and grace we proclaim is at the heart of God’s law in Christ? “The signals we give -- yes or no, or maybe --  / Should be clear; the darkness around us is deep.” (William Stafford, “A Ritual to Read to Each Other”)

 

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