Greetings to you this late-January-kinda-cold-still-covid-times day! We have borne and continue to bear heavy burdens, but we do so together, knowing that our Creator holds us in the palm of their hand. Thanks be to God!
UCC of Austin has been my church home for seven (or eight?) years now, and I am grateful to be a part of this worshiping, learning, serving community. One of the many things that appeals to me is the diversity of faith-related activities in which people connected with our church are involved. Back when the pandemic
started, someone started a zoom Bible study of the Psalms. At the time, I was happy to be able to participate in a church activity without having to leave the house. Two years later, I’d LOVE to leave the house, but I’m not crazy about Covid stage 5 interactions.
Our happy little Tuesday noon zoom group has finished our journey through the Psalms, enriched by both scripture and honest conversation. The Tuesday noon zoom book study carries on. We are currently reading a book titled The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong. It’s written by
Karen Gonzalez, who came to the USA from Guatemala as a child with her parents. She is a seminary graduate who currently works with an agency that helps refugees from around the world resettle in the states. Her own personal experiences and education have prepared her well to weave her own immigration and faith journeys throughout some of the many migration stories in the Bible that she recounts.
The book began by discussing the story of Naomi and Ruth from the very short book of Ruth (four chapters) in the Bible. Gonzalez reviews the “Disney princess” version of Ruth that many of us learned in Sunday school as children. Then, she points out the immigration aspects of the story that have been there all along; we just needed a new lens to see them. Bible story chapters are alternated with chapters that tell their stories based on sacraments such as baptism and communion. Those sacraments mean different things to different people and different faith groups. I love how Gonzalez tells the story of her faith formation as she also describes her journey of migrating from one country to another. The journey of growing up, the journey of thinking about what we believe and why, is one that resonates broadly.
The God Who Sees is available through booksellers online. There are also a few copies of this intriguing book available in the church office, if you’d like to borrow or purchase from there. Contact the church office if you need the Zoom information.
I invite you to join our group at noon on Tuesdays between now and Holy Week as we read and discuss immigration stories from scripture, and how they inform our lives here and now. We’d love to have you join us, once or often!