13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Matthew 2:13
‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” 28He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” 29But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ Matthew 13:24-30
The problem with violence is not that it is senseless—it’s that it makes too much sense for far too many. After a group of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorists murdered 129 people in Paris (not to overshadow the indiscriminant violence happening in every village and hamlet) the world quickly changed it’s profile picture to a vertical translucent red, white, and blue. Not long after many stood in solidarity with France, news broke that one of the murders was carrying a Syrian passport. Hastily, Governors across America petitioned President Obama to close the American border to Syrian refugees, locking out those trying to escape extremism out of fear that a Friday night in Paris might become the next tragedy in America.
Is the fear warranted? Probably. American leaders should be cautious in order to ensure the safety of the people within their charge. Should caution supersede compassion? Probably not. At least, let’s take a moment to think. It’s a fair assumption that extremists are aware of the thousands who have left their home behind. It’s also a fair assumption that the Daesh knew the Paris attack would put world leaders on high alert. Closing borders to those fleeing Syria is a clever way to ensure that those whom you were oppressing are left to be oppressed by someone else’s hand. It’s an eerie reminder of the 20,000 Jews who were turned away at the Swiss border between 1939-1941. Knowing that refugees are in transit, and knowing the power of fear, the attack in Paris is a clever genocide against those fleeing from your power.
Let us lament the loss of innocence. Let us pray for wisdom and compassion. Let us be quick to listen and slow to speak. “Should we cut down the weeds?” the workers asked in Jesus’ parable. “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.” Could it be that closing borders is precisely what the enemy who sows weeds among the wheat is hoping will happen? Could it be that their hope is in fear’s motivation to accomplish what they could not? You know . . . a closed border is closed both ways. Lord have mercy….
13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ 14Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’ Matthew 2:13-15
I need to give a shout out to Lori Jones, the best editor on the planet, for helping me get the words from my brain to the screen. Now for the footnotes…