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Looking Toward Sunday, January 13, 2019

In the summer of 2008, I climbed into the back of a fifteen passenger van, affectionately dubbed, “Carmen the Heat Wagon” by the youth and adult advisors who were following the migrant trail from Sasabe Mexico, into Tucson. It was over 100 degrees and a black van with questionable air conditioning was not really the optimal transport. But we had it good. We weren’t climbing into a packed cargo shell with no seatbelts, trusting a coyote (human smuggler) who had “legal papers” for us to get us where we were going. We weren’t walking on foot in shoes with holes, and loading up on bottled water that was being handed out at the border wall with cautions about how likely people were to die of dehydration (or snake bites, or starvation . . . ) and that they should turn back now. We were so hot we could barely breathe or think sometimes, but in comparison, yes, it was good.

I remember speaking to a young woman, her baby bump just starting to show. She’d made her way from Colombia, South America up through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and traversed Mexico. She’d tried to cross once before. When we asked her if she knew the dangers that were ahead, in the desert, and why she would take such a risk, her eyes welled up. Yes, she knew, but there was no turning back for her. Her family was the target of a drug cartel. A new life in a far away place seemed like the only hope for this new growing life. She was afraid, but in her eyes was also hope.

I have thought about that trip a lot lately. It was the most formative experience of my life. And as I have wrestled with our scripture for this Sunday, the holy family’s escape across the border, into Egypt, it has rattled in my head. This week, we will wrap up the birth narrative of Jesus with this story of Mary and Joseph, upon the warning of an angel, fleeing to Egypt to save the life of their child, God’s child. I wonder if they new the dangers of that desert journey, if they feared the welcome, if what was behind them was enough to propel them forward. I wonder what this story means for us as Christians, that our savior was a refugee – that God basically told them to run. I wonder why the Egyptians let them stay and what would have happened if they didn’t.

Join us this Sunday as we wonder about and explore this timely story together.

We will also celebrate the call of Eric Dusenbury, Lauren Merceron, Bob Beard, and Kirk Simpson into leadership through ordination and installation.

Thank you for allowing me to join you on this journey of faith. I look forward to the path we will traverse together. In gratitude,