Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
- Psalm 118:19-21 (NRSV)
On their morning commute to school, traffic was looking bad.
Siblings Julia (9) and Oscar (14) were carpooling with their mom's dear friend Michelle and her children, on the route they took every day. But they were running late and the traffic was too slow.
Michelle instructed the children to walk the rest of the way. She'd send an Uber to pick them up on the other side of the gate.
Like many others, they commute through the border every Monday through Friday. They are U.S. Citizens and have passports to prove this.
But, reportedly, the agents didn't believe Julia and Oscar. They accused 9th grader Oscar of trafficking his sister Julia. They detained and interrogated them for 36 hours while their mother waited for them, begging the agents for their release. (Learn more about their story here.)
This, at the gate to our country where children are treated as criminals every day.
Where is the gate of righteousness?
Who will offer God's protection?
"Righteousness" and "protection" are loaded words. They invoke decisions, actions, a posture of evoking divine authority or at least civic justice.
How far are the righteous willing to go for our children? If the gates aren't open for righteousness, what exactly are they for? Who do they serve?
In all of this, I have questions. May God help us with answers.
Open your gates of righteousness, O God. May we never be a fence against your salvation. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.