Saturday, August 2, 2014

These Brothers of Mine

I began painting this picture the other day ("Entonces dirá el Rey...") after a friend left a profound comment on a link I shared about the child refugee crisis on the southern US border. Also commenting on that thread was his father, who is from Colombia, and who shared this picture after I finished it. I knew he would like it, and somehow that meant something to me.

Solidarity? Is that the right word? My iPhone dictionary says, "unity or agreement of feeling or action, esp. among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group."

That doesn't quite capture it. "Family" feels more like it.

It's like I could count on my brothers, fathers and uncles to understand my heart (and our Father's heart) for our brothers and nephews from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The broadly-categorized "Latin@" people are many parts of the original peoples of the North and South American continents. We're all one family.

Granted, we are all one family as human brothers and sisters. And most importantly, we are all one family in Christ.

But there was something deep for me in learning that my Mexican heritage is an indigenous ancestry, and then seeing that these people ("Latin@s") are the ones that the Creator set in the land long before the arrival of the European explorers, conquerors and immigrants.

Already I knew that they are precious to Jesus and ought to be precious to us. Jesus is with them and He is in them; when we welcome them, we welcome Him; we share in His heart by loving them and learning to see the treasure in them.

But then there was something about seeing these children as *my* relatives, as my relations, as my cousins and my family. That was deep and moving me to me. And then knowing that some Latin@ brothers were going to understand what I painted and what my heart felt... and this part of His heart.

I think maybe that's the difficult part here: some Christians who are not Latin@ let "race" get in the way of seeing these children as refugees. It's like there is a veil that keeps them from seeing "illegal immigrants" as human, as neighbors, as precious lives and sacred creations of the Creator worthy of love, and as the infinite treasures that each of them are.

I would think that people who try to follow Christ should be able to see this way, but sometimes (or often) there is a veil of systemic racism over the heart and faces of many in America. Part of it no doubt descends from the heritage of American forefathers and pioneers who said "Mine!" and stole from the indigenous people. After you steal goods, you get possessive at the thought of someone stealing the goods you stole from others. Then, the forefathers & pioneers thought they were better and higher than the indigenous people and "other races". So it's doubly difficult for them to see these "lesser people" getting to share in part of "what is ours" in America.

Strange to me that I have always thought of letting go of national or racial identity as being a good thing... but here seeing it as "family" instead fills me with something like a warmth or sense of ownership. Like, "these brothers and sisters are *my* brothers and sisters."

That comes from my own heritage awakening—my discovery that I'm half-Mexican, learning to embrace that, wanting to know and love my people more.

But I digress. Because this shouldn't be about me. I'm just musing as I discover a feeling of family-love for them. I'm praying for them. I'm weeping in the Spirit and my heart was (and is still) broken from making this picture.

I'm praying for you, my brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. I wish I could do more. I'm crying out to Him with you, and to those in the land where you've fled for refuge.

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