by Professor Cláudio Carvalhaes
Re-published from: Practical Matters Journal post on August 27, 2018
We are all immigrants! Some of us are more recent immigrants than others. In this time of nation-states, we forget that our true country, our true home, is in heaven and we are all moving around as migrants until we cross the Jordan River. While we live here among the nations, on this good earth, the oikos of God, we are all full-fledged members of God’s realm, under the grace of God who makes us all equal. By this grace of God, we all carry God’s image, like a passport, whatever our status as citizens or as stateless persons. Passports and legal documents speak to nations, but cannot be the final document within the Christian faith. Our Christian baptism attests to the fact that we are baptized back into the earth, God’s body, and committed to careof each other. We too readily forget who we are and how we belong to each other. Indeed, , the colonization of the American land, the formation of U.S. exceptionalism and the consequential normativity of land possession by force and law have made us think that we have the final ownership of places and status by putting borders around others and impeding people’s movement. The killing of the indigenous people continues to exist as ongoing forms of coloniality used by the state as we see it repeated in the history of black folks, and the ways of treating new immigrants now. National documents have taken the place of God’s image so much so that we ignore the dignity of migrants and refugees and exiles – the stateless ones are rendered invisible by those of us who are claimed and protected by a nation. We are living in a daring situation where immigrants and refugees are moving around the globe due to so many drastic global conditions. Our task now is to learn how to regain a theology, a form of thinking, feeling, believing and relating to immigrants and immigration that will help us recognize them and respond appropriately to this current global crisis. This article challenges us to see all human beings as immigrant carriers of the Imago Dei, a truth more important than any passport. We must acknowledge that many Christian churches have become class identity holders and complacent with state xenophobic discourses and private possessions. Most importantly, when our national identity is more important than our common humanity, we lose sight of the demand ofhospitality shown in the gospels. We must continually struggle to recognize the breadth of the challenges we have today and reclaim a radical hospitality rooted in the gospel. All bear the Imago Dei. We are all immigrants!
For the full article, please visit the original post at Practical Matters Journal
Cláudio Carvalhaes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Worship Union Theological Seminary in New York City
HSP Faculty 2018, Course Title: “Latinx Worship/Preaching and Global Art”