DO YOU STILL HAVE ANY FAMILY MEMBERS THAT LIVE IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY?
But Esau ran to meet [his brother Jacob], and embraced him,
and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
There is something powerful about family ties. For families from marginalized communities, maintaining deep connections with family and community is a sacred practice; it keeps one in tune with and aware of who they are. Family traditions and rituals preserve historical memory and perspectives commonly overwritten or erased by the dominant culture.
In spaces so set on creating and mandating labels, this knowledge of self and one’s identity is invaluable. It’s important to be able to come home at the end of the day, not just to a physical space but to the space where one’s identity, culture, sacred stories, and memories are free from the checkboxes of forced identity.
Friendship Park / El Parque de la Amistad is a binational park (US/Mexico) that sits at one of the busiest border crossings in the world. This park with a fence separating the United States from Mexico is where immigrants go in an attempt to stay connected to who they are. Through fences, families try to maintain connection. Through fences, sons and daughters bring grandchildren to meet grandparents. Through fences, loved ones say final goodbyes.
Paintings adorn these fences in an attempt to remove the unyielding, impersonal steel. Families are not meant to connect through cold metal and such barriers must never be normalized. Families are meant to connect like Jacob and Esau reconciling (Genesis 33) or in the parable of the prodigal son and his father (Luke 15) who runs with open arms. Such acts of familial reconciliation and reconnection are sacrosanct and must never be forced to happen through fences.
~Alisa Castilla, MDiv student
Breath Prayer for Palm Sunday:
Breathing in: lead me to make home
Breathing out: in deep connections
This blog is part of a 16-piece series for MIGRATION & HOLY WEEK composed by the students and instructors CTS Contextual Immersions J-Term 2022 Courses on Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Because of COVID, both the planned travel seminar and the virtual seminar joined for a fully online zoom-based two-week seminar. Instructors compiled, edited the offerings into this series. We hope that this series that integrates our studies and themes of Lent will pose questions for all of us to contemplate and respond to in our life of faith.