Eric’s Sunday Sermon; And the Least of These
This side of the border
Let us just jump in and start off with stories involving children. Why not? Let us hide some names except mine and move along. Children are the largest part of my life. Back off! I am a child.
Elias is a savvy street kid. He lives in an apartment but prefers to be out on the street. Today he brought his 3 friends with him. His language skills are beyond his station in life at 8 years old. He proclaims that he spends 5 hours on the internet each day. He got to ride our bike. Liability off the charts for me. So be it. They messed around on the skate board in our driveway. More liability for us. So be it.
I asked them why they were frowning at first. “because that is in our apartments if they see you happy they think you have something”. Come on, it is not that bad. “Yes it is”. I think it may just be like that. After a bit they turn around and go back home. They came down 7 houses and it appears just to see us. My son Gabe and I like to mess around out front of our house. Hopefully they will come down again.
Now they are not allowed in our house or backyard. And here is why. Elias is just savvy enough to be a runner for a gang. And no matter what he will relate back to the older kids in his apartment building what he was doing down here. The older kids are not sweet and kind. They are gangsters or wantabe gangsters. Burglarizing our home would certainly not be below them.
There is a line in our hood. It is the street in front of the apartments. Most of the people in the apartments know this line. It is an economic line. Poor people on that side and lower middle to upper middle class on our side. The line is for protection on both sides. Race has no relevance at all. Age has no relevance at all. Certainly gender has no relevance. The line is as much of a demarcation as is our national border a mere five miles away.
If you venture into Tijuana you cross that economic line. If you cross into the U.S.A. you cross that line. The other line here is what I call the “school line”. Next door going away from the apartments your children get to go to a really topnotch school. Our house and they go to the school on their side, not so good. I caught onto this and petitioned for our son to go to the “good” school. Basically if you understand and petition you are in. Kind of like asylum.
Fun in this Context
He Drew a Border
I got to counting national borders I have crossed in my life time and lost count. The two most interesting I think were West to East Berlin before the wall came down. That wall kept people in and not out. It was economic. East was a slum. And the other was Hong Kong (before reversion to China) to mainland. And again that line was economic.
Some lines are created by accident of birth. Those same lines get into education. As I noted above, good school and bad school. On the one hand that is some sick stuff on the other, it is the natural order of things. In a herd the weak are left to the rear. This is the place to get picked off by predators. Thinning the herd in such a way means the strong survive and that means a stronger herd. Again that is some sick stuff, but natural.
The houses toward the apartments are about 15% less in appraised value. Again I am close to that line but in this case it is 3 doors down towards the apartments. This is not a city. It is a “community” inside the county. But the fair market value of a one bedroom apartment is 1300$ per month. Fully impossible for a family of four who are impoverished. So it is subsidized housing. And not crime but that economic line is what causes the drop in homes too close to that situation.
Borders are economic. One way of life needs to be protected and the other avoided. Here is a strange one. Within 7 homes on either side of us there are no college aged peoples. I still do not know what to make of that except the historic. We had a bad economic collapse people lost homes, those that lost homes were mainly middle class in the middle years. No college age kids is a matter of economics again.
All that makes you want to go all communist. However the ability to have a job and to go to school at all is capitalism. You cannot get a job from a poor man.
A Different Nation
Cross the Line?
I just love getting to this part of sermons. It is like I can breathe easier. We do not need conclusions. We need questions. Sermons are like psychotherapy. The “correct” questions to ask are the crux of introspection and whatever connections you have.
Our mind is such an amazing tool of love. But not so much when we “conclude” instead of keeping our minds wide open. I am sorry that the above referenced borders cannot be the same. But they cannot be wide open. The little guy Elias is not allowed to “case” my joint. Personally I think that is economics.
But there is another economics. That of our love. We can spend our love without borders. We can love the least of us. We as people do not need to cull the herd. We can reach our hand out and help the weak. They do not need to follow behind the herd. We can cross that line though others cannot cross it. It is our love responsibility to help cross that line. Our time, our riches and our security must be closely guarded when we are on the borderline. But our hearts and our love must be free to cross over.
Today my boy and I will go and find Elias with a soccer ball. Not shiny and new for it would be taken from him. We must respect his station. And we will wear our worst clothing. And we will approach from a back alley. This is to protect Elias from the predators. This is a loving way.
My boy will discuss why our loving God made it this way. We could simply ignore Elias. We can all ignore the other side of the line. He cannot afford a soccer ball. We have three. But until I fully know and trust him he may not come into my home. How sad is that but I must protect my family first.
My son is half Asian. Meaning his mom is Asian. She is an immigrant. She crossed the border. We must cross the border in order to love all. We do not get to sit on our side of the border as though the other side is not worthy of our love. But we must do it with discernment and proper evaluation.
Someone once said to me that life is hard and then you die. How sad is that. Love is easy and then it lives on. Love also cannot be stored up. It must be given freely without a border. You simply cannot get more love unless you spend it. People maybe cannot cross borders but love can.