On that Easter morning 2000 year ago, an angel startled the women who had come to Jesus’ tomb to grieve. “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay,’” (Matthew 28:5-6). After encountering the angel, “…the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” Then they met Jesus himself, who told them again, “Do not be afraid…”.
The meeting in Tucson was a blessing. Our GateWAY Loft immigrant shelter is one of just nine along the U. S. southern border from California to Texas. It was good to hear the stories and challenges we all face, particularly in our current polarized culture regarding immigrants and refugees. In one session, someone asked how to deal with the “push back” (including threats) we all have experienced. I responded, “We operate out of love, and not fear.” Several of the participants shared with me later that those words blessed and encouraged them. In life, if we take the course of least resistance, or try to please everyone, we are assured to fail. We might as well fold our tents and go home. As we approach the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Martin Luther King assassination (April 4), let us appreciate those who came before us who were willing to face criticism, hatred, violence, and even death. Jesus did.