The invisible look at things differently. They see themselves comfortable in their chair in the dining room, before the abduction, the deportation. They see their bed made and waiting for a safe sleep. Routine and normal, these things become miraculous when stolen.
Missing people used to be an other worldly problem, maybe it made twisted sense in the Third World, but not in our neighborhood. Milk Carton photos of missing children, Amber alerts, newsreels of ICE agents kicking down doors, missionaries returning home with stories of fighting sex traffickers, the new normal has breached the realm of the unimaginable. The Old Testament stories of the captive Israelites in Babylon are being played out right down the street.
Jesus says in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with Me is against Me, he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” It is the conclusion of His house divided against itself cannot stand admonishment. Divide and conquer is always our enemy’s first line of attack. Separated by the serpent the garden dwellers become refugees in hostile territory. Dividing our church, politically, racially, or economically belies Christ’s assertion the Kingdom of God is at hand.
The undesirable, the undeserving, the forgotten, the forlorn, the captive, the banished, this is us. In faith, hope, and charity there is no them. Those who prey upon the weak dismiss our thoughts and prayers. In Jesus’s time suggesting that a Samaritan could be good was an almost impossible stretch of the imagination, a bit like conservatives or liberals today putting the shoe on the other foot. It was the Samaritan’s action of going out of his way to care for a victim of society that made the story stick.
The outreach Jesus advocates isn’t a demographic pack the pews on Sunday strategy as much as it is extending our hand, the one with the Kingdom in it. He calls us friend. It’s an honor, a privilege, and a call to action. Insuring each other’s personal safety is the compassionate component of the gift of salvation. He sets a banquet for us in the face of our enemy, it is our place to make sure the vulnerable are seated at the table.