Lection Connection

August 21, 2022: Boundary Breaking Love

From Paul Turley


One of the persistent myths used by those who seek to prevent asylum seekers from entering their nation is the idea that there is an orderly, international or national, asylum seeker resettlement program. If those seeking asylum, the myth goes, would only be patient, they would eventually find themselves at the top of the queue.


There is no queue, orderly or otherwise.


Refugee and asylum seeker organizations point out the obvious again and again; when people are forced to leave their homes, they do so quickly and suddenly. The urgency is to get away from danger and move, hopefully toward safety. Orderly queues, even if such existed, are not front of mind.


An asylum seeker is, according to Amnesty International, “a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country, but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim. Seeking asylum is a human right.”


This myth of the orderly queue allowed the last conservative government in Australia to promote the idea that asylum seekers who tried to reach the Australian mainland by boat were less worthy of human rights protections than asylum seekers still languishing in Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries.


The same promotion of the myth helped the Trump administration sell its “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy that required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their applications were processed.


At the beginning of July, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Biden administration’s decision to end this policy and allow those who cross the border to make a claim for asylum.


The U.S. secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas said, “Their proceedings will continue in immigration court, where they will pursue their claims for asylum, and if those claims are unsuccessful, they will be swiftly removed from the United States.”


For those of us who follow the teachings of the Christian and Hebrew scriptures, the call to care for the widow, the orphan, and the alien/stranger is clear. So clear that, for Jesus, human need trumps all, even the God-given instruction to do no work on the Sabbath. What is shocking in our text is that there was a religious class who were quite comfortable with publicly stating a position that was so cruel and so inhumane.


Explore… Luke 13:10–17

  • Our story takes place in what should have been the heart and soul of the God-inspired compassionate society, the synagogue. Why do you think it was important to the author of Luke to tell us where this event took place?
  • How would you define hypocrisy?
  • In what practical ways does your faith community exemplify or demonstrate the humanity of all?



God of all compassion. Forgive us for the ways we sort other human beings into grades and classifications. Forgive us for our inability to see the world as you do. Help us to see the barriers, even in our own faith communities, that make it difficult for all people to live in their full, God-given humanity. Amen.


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