Back to Top

A Lament for Immigration (Part 1)

Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy. 

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

The people of Israel were experts in the art of hope. In this Psalm, we see it clearly: this picture of what it will be like when God redeems them. What it will feel like when they are delivered. 

We had a hard week, justice seekers. John Boehner announced that immigration reform isn't going to happen this year. Though we have the votes to pass a bill, a bill won't come to a vote. Families suffering separation, farmers under the stress of a 70% illegal workforce, communities bearing the strain of the thousands of traumatized children seeking safety...all this will continue. Immigrants will continue to bear the weight of this injustice. 

This week, we'll be posting every day on Do Justice about what it means to be justice seekers when we lose. How to maintain our voice, our passion, and our hope when everything points to despair and defeat. How to be Christian advocates, not just political ones.

It's hard for me to be a Christian in these times. I'm happy sowing those seeds when we're close to our goal; but when I need to take the long view, when I need to pick up my bag of seeds and keep sowing in spite of the sure truth that nothing is going to grow, I get weary. I'd rather throw down that bag and cry. I'd rather argue with the God who is in control of all of this, convince God that the time is now. The seeds are good. The soil is ready. Do something. 

I'd rather demand that river of justice than sit around singing about it.

I'm grateful that the people of Israel could sing about "streams in the Negev" in the midst of their dry season. I'm grateful that they could proclaim, in advance, their conviction that "the Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Because they were far from joy; they were sowing those seeds while weeping.

Find someone to weep with today, friends of justice. But sow those seeds. We're going to see each other soon, and our arms are going to be bursting with full-grown sheaves. And we're going to say to each other, "Only God could have done this." 

[Image: Flickr user Sander Spolspoel]

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

In order to steward ministry shares well, commenting isn’t available on Do Justice itself because we engage with comments and dialogue in other spaces. To comment on this post, please visit the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue’s Facebook page (for Canada-specific articles) or the Office of Social Justice’s Facebook page. Alternatively, please email us. We want to hear from you!

Read more about our comment policy.