The Kingdom of God is like a Mustard Bush…
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
My daughter is 3 years old. I love watching her and our 8 year old son running around on a warm summer evening. Neighbors stop by to talk and enjoy community together. Sprinklers, sparklers, and marshmallows. Life is good.
Often we focus the Kingdom of God on these high moments, but the Kingdom of God is also for the low moments, the dangerous moments. The kingdom of God is there when everything else falls apart. It is in those low moments when the Kingdom of God is needed the most.
As a parent, I feel kinship with the parents who have made the difficult choice to travel to this country seeking asylum. While I have never faced political persecution or a threat of violence like they have, I do know what it is like to fear for the life of your child.
My daughter was born with multiple complications. Seizures, loss of oxygen, blood clotting issues, and more. At first, we thought everything would be okay. She was out quickly from the emergency C-section, and I held her for 10 minutes or so. Then I handed her to my wife who had about 2 seconds before a seizure started and our daughter turned blue. They took her to the NICU, and then our world continued to fall around us.
They briefly wheeled my daughter in an isoylet into my wife’s recovery room, telling us she had to go to Children's for a special treatments. My wife looked at me and said, “go be with our girl. She needs one of there no matter what happens.” Around 3:00 am, I drove as fast as our little car would go down OH-315 – probably about 80 mph - to get to Children’s hospital. I ran as fast as possible to security and upstairs to the NICU. Nobody has ever said I don't deserve my child since I broke law - in fact most parents say they agree with me.
When I arrived, a very wise nurse met me and kept me out. She knew how serious it was and knew I would get in the way. But she did it in a way that made me feel at peace. Our entire medical team offered us peace, safety, and comfort in our hour of need. They were the Kingdom of God for us.
The kingdom of God isn’t reserved for our times of blessing but comes to us in our time of sorrow. The nurse's words were a seed that provided me comfort, rest, and peace in a moment of chaos. Her words helped to bring the kingdom of God to me.
Because of our health insurance and location in a well educated city, our daughter was given the care she needed to be healthy and vibrant child today. Allowing us enjoy marshmallows, sparklers and sprinklers this summer.
Sadly there are many children in our world who lack the access to safe communities to not only survive but to thrive. This is why migrant families have always come to America. They want their children to have a chance at a decent life.
Every parent should be able to seek the Kingdom of God for their children.
Immigrant families continue to come to the United States to seek refuge and safety from harsh realities of violence in their home countries. These parents have fear, and we should show compassion and love in the execution of our laws Romans 13:10 states,
Love does no harm to a neighbor.
Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The President signed an executive order that falls far short of the need. More than 2,000 children remain in detention, with no plan for reunification, and there is no plan moving forward. We still need congressional action and we still need the faith community advocating for the rights of families to stay together and to seek the Kingdom of God.
Many families in Ohio have been disrupted and separated as well as a part of immigration raids. These raids and crackdowns often target individuals and families who are following all of the requirements laid out by the courts and immigration officials - including check-ins, electronic monitoring and the like. These families are often long-time members of our communities and need of protection.
Here are a few things every parent knows:
- No amount of material comforts can replace or heal the trauma of separation from a child and a parent.
- Children should not be locked up.
- Parents will bend heaven and earth to help their children be safe. Nothing will get in their way.
The Kingdom of God offers sanctuary and protection for the most vulnerable birds of the air. God must love us just as much, right? As people of faith, we are called to be sowers (planters) of the seeds that will grow into the protection needed. We can do that by:
- Work with local migrant families to support them and be in community with them.
- Support resettlement efforts of groups like Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
- Advocate, Advocate Advocate!