We didn't plan it, but God did.
A little over two years ago, Calvin Seminary held its first “Loving Your Neighbor” summer conference. It was a great conference with diverse presentations along the theme of following God’s command of “loving our neighbors as ourselves.” Here is a link to video resources from the conference: www.calvinseminary.edu/lyn2016.
Soon after the 2016 conference, we began thinking about the summer of 2018. We decided that a follow up to that first “Loving Your Neighbor” conference was to continue with that overarching vision and focus on “Ministry Among Migrants, Immigrants, and Refugees.”
At the time of our planning, the news of children separated at the border from immigrants coming into the United States or caravans from Central America coming up to the United States was not present. As people gathered, they said this conference was timely. It was in God’s timing.
Here is what I hope you will take away from this issue and the invitation to engage the articles and videos that we are making available from our summer conference:
- See to follow biblical principles knowing that it is more complicated than any slogan, bumper sticker, or one-liner.
- Listen first to learn and understand.
- There are good people caught up in stereotypes and caricatures rather than engaging in conversation. It will not only take biblical understanding, but also wisdom to move forward.
- Ministry along the margins helps us see the challenge and the opportunities of ministering to the "least" of these.
- Watch out for false dichotomies. For example, someone can favor better border security as well as more compassionate immigration process for those seeking refuge.
We pray that the resources presented will help us follow Jesus a little further and deeper as we again recognize that we are to follow God's plans, not our own.