SHINING LIGHT IN DARKNESS
By LORETTA FULTON
“No kids in cages!” one sign screamed.
Another quoted a Bible scripture. Another Dietrich Bonhoeffer. An atheist got in his remarks too, with a sign urging action, not prayer.
No matter the religious, non-religious, or polical beliefs, the approximately 100 people gathered Friday evening, July 12, for a Lights for Liberty rally in front of City Hall came together for one purpose. Kristina Campos Davis, chair of the Taylor County Democratic Party, which organized the event, made that clear from the beginning.
“We are here tonight because we care about the people affected,” she said. “This is not a political night. We’re talking about human rights.”
The Abilene gathering was one of thousands held nationwide July 12 to protest conditions on the border. The evening was billed as “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps.”
Children of migrants are being held separately from their parents and don’t know what’s happening to them, Davis said. The situation, Davis said, presents an opportunity to do God’s work. The first half hour of the rally featured various speakers, including two pastors, Chesna Riley and David Romanik. Riley is co-pastor of Brook Hollow Christian Church and Romanik is rector of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest. Following the remarks, as darkness fell, candles were lit as a sign of hope and unity.
“We have to shine light in this darkness,” Davis said.
The Rev. David Romanik, top left, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, was one of the guest speakers for the July 12 Lights for Liberty rally. Participants brought homemade signs to address issues and then lit candles as a sign of hope and unity. Photos by Loretta Fulton
Romanik used the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate the plight of the migrants and what the response to them should be.
Jesus uses the parable in answer to a question, “Who is my neighbor?” In the parable, a man lies injured on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest passes by and crosses to the other side of the road. A Levite does the same. But a Samaritan takes pity. He bandages the man’s wounds, puts him on his own donkey and takes him to an inn. He pays the inn keeper and tells him he will pay more if needed when he returns.
And then Jesus asks his questioner, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The man wisely answers, “The one who had mercy on him.” And then comes the clincher. “Go and do likewise,” Jesus replies.
The priest and the Levite chose to look away, Romanik said, while the Samaritan chose mercy and took action.
“That’s our challenge tonight,” Romanik said. “That’s our challenge going forward.”