The line of 400 or more people walked quietly down the beach, 4 by 4 in a strange and fascinating procession. On a cool December day in San Diego, with signs and birds, in stoles and clergy collars, robes and bright t-shirts, this mixed posada moved slowly and deliberately toward the border between Mexico and the United States. There were people of many races, many colors, many traditions, ages, abilities and backgrounds from all over the US – people of faith gathering at this wall to bring witness and word: Love Knows No Borders.
In that group of so many were people from the Tri-Conference, in San Diego for the Authorizing Ministry for the 21st Century Conference offered every other year for ACMs and Conference Ministers to discuss common issues and best practices around Search and Call, church vitality and such. There was something powerful about sharing this time together in this place – at this border. In Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts we are seeking to break open our borders, to challenge boundaries and walls that have separated us for hundreds of years. We are trying to learn how to be together, to be church together, to be God’s people together, and we know that it is not simple. We also know that together we can be stronger, wiser and do more than we can do alone. As we look to acknowledge that the borders we have created may not be serving God’s call for us as church, it opens our hearts to consider other borders and boundaries that may be standing in the way of God’s light breaking forth.
As we enter this new year, this last year as separate entities bound by our constructed borders, I hope we can commit to continuing to break open borders, barriers and walls. As people of God who seek to open to new ways of being together, I pray that we can extend that welcome and openness out into the world. We have come this far by faith. May we continue to step out in that faith, breaking open the walls between us, challenging borders that perpetuate pain and prejudice, and exploding old ideas of protection that we might risk extravagant love.
Love knows no borders. We follow Jesus, the one who crossed all kinds of physical, cultural and spiritual boundaries that we might have life, and have it abundantly. May we do the same so that God’s light might break forth in this time of Epiphany and all the people will know the healing and embracing joy of welcome, safety and peace.
Rev. Kelly Gallagher is an Associate Conference Minister for the MA Conference, UCC.
Many Voices, One Mission is a regular series highlighting the ministries of the
CT, MA, and RI Conference of the United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Kelly Gallagher is an Associate Conference Minister for the Southern New England Conference.