As I stood between Gilberto and Alejandra overlooking the wall that divides the United States and Mexico and extends into the Pacific Ocean, I thought to myself, “This is a moment I will never forget.”
Gilberto has given himself to the care and flourishing of deportee’s in a Tijuana shelter for 30+ years as an answer to Jesus’ call to love the “stranger” among us. Alejandra is a young advocate and developing scholar who has given much of her life to mobilizing the Church into redemptive engagement with migrants.
They have each become mentors of mine and I had the honor of inviting them to join a gathering of Christians (representing millions of Christians across the US and Mexico) who came together to pray in a circle that extended across the border on behalf the 60,000+ unaccompanied minors seeking refuge from violence and destitution.
Organizationally, we (TGIP) don’t see ourselves as the “experts,” but the people who know the “experts” who are waging peace in some of the most unexpected and remarkable ways in the world. Gilberto and Alejandra are the experts who have taught us what taking seriously Jesus’ call to peacemaking looks like in the tangible, costly and everyday realities of life.
As I stood in this sacred prayer circle that extended across our shared border, I thought,“This is what the Church looks like when it takes seriously it’s call to care for the ‘least of these’ as part of our citizenship to a kingdom that knows no borders.”
Who knows what partnerships will come from this time together that will further mark the coming of Kingdom of God in the here and now, but I do know that I need Gilberto and Alejandra by my side for a long, long time. They may or may not need me, but I surely need them as they continually point me to Jesus and teach me the things that make for peace.