As the son of immigrant parents, am I a "we" or a "they" when the issue of immigration stirs emotions?
Stirred emotions is putting it mildly.
There have been strains and hate crimes between ethnic groups – between nationalities who have been citizens for generations and new immigrants. I think of myself as a "we" when I consider the way immigrants, such as my parents, enriched Europe's diversity or immigrants anywhere enrich that region's diversity.
The solution to the unrest and violence, I believe, is a spiritual one, not just a political one. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, explained, "There is but one I, or Us, but one divine Principle, or Mind, governing all existence; man and woman unchanged forever in their individual characters, even as numbers which never blend with each other, though they are governed by one Principle" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 588).
This glorious idea of "one I, or Us" – the divine Principle or Mind that is God – and of "man and woman ... governed by one Principle" reassures me that I need not settle for an identity outside my relation to God, as God's child or idea. Nor should I judge anyone else outside their relation to God.
This perspective is liberating. It eases mentality away from accepting we/they divisions into seeing equal expressions of that one, wonderful "Us" that loves all. In that spiritual relationship with the all-loving "Us," human divides are bridged. The Bible, speaking about healing longstanding divisions between Jews and Gentiles, wrote – talking of Christ – "through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2:18).
Through Christ – the true idea of every man and woman's eternal sonship or daughterhood – all have equal access to the inexhaustible goodness of God.
Whether legal or illegal immigrants, generations-established citizens, or longer established indigenous people, everyone has uniform access to God's impartial love. Nobody – in any circumstance – is outside the reach of God's care.
Prayer can open the way to honorably and legally resolving both the human rights issues facing immigrants and fears of competition for resources challenging to those welcoming immigrants into their country.
Universal access to divine Love, to the degree such access is perceived and proved, provides solutions to the legitimate needs of new and continuing citizens, since the Father-Mother God loves all impartially.
The Bible assures all: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph. 2:19).
Contrary to a sense of division that comes with the terrain of material self-labeling, that biblical assurance presents God's view of citizenship: that it is impossible to be foreign to His realm or a stranger to Her love.
This belonging to the divine household is the highest citizenry attainable. It is open to all and becomes apparent to the degree we conform our thoughts and actions to God's all-loving intent.
My parents loved their adopted country and rejoiced to become citizens. I, too, love the country of my birth. However, whether I am a "we" or a "they" has become secondary to knowing that as an expression of the "one I, or Us," I am secure in my identity as God's beloved child and value everyone else's true identity likewise.
In the place
where it was said unto them,
Ye are not my people;
there shall they be called
the children of the living God.