February 28, 2017
If you are a Christian, I would hope that you know about the season of Lent, though there is no guarantee. Lent, which begins tomorrow, is the season starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter. During the season, many people “fast” from things or practices in their daily lives to both refocus their spiritual life and sacrifice something in homage to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Though the current president must not observe the season, as 45 gears up to sign a new travel order on Ash Wednesday, my home church in Chicago is gearing up to spend Lent fighting for immigrant and refugee justice.
From the church’s Lenten blog:
On March 1, 2017, we will begin the season of Lent and start our 2017 Fast for Immigrant and Refugee Justice. We invite you to join us on a journey from xenophobia to xenophilia, learning God’s heart for the “alien and stranger” along the way. From the Hebrew Scriptures to Jesus, we are commanded to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Jesus expanded the definition of neighbor to include those of different faiths and different ethnicities and even ones enemies.
We are currently living in a time of rising mistrust and suspicion and a resurgence of nationalism and ethnic/racial supremacy. In the midst of this climate, the church faces a choice. Will people of faith add their voices to the calls for bans and walls, or will they–in Jesus’ words–see him “a stranger, and welcome him?”
In a time when there are too many issues to rise up against, choosing one on which to focus, in which to make a difference, is more important than ever. Below are a few recent resources and news stories that include religious and cultural xenophobia and hate to get you in the mood to fight such injustice.
On Jan. 14, 2005, ESA’s Huygens probe made its descent to the surface of Saturn’s hazy moon, Titan. Carried to Saturn by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, Huygens made the most distant landing ever on another world, and the only landing on a body in the outer solar system. This video uses actual images taken by the probe during its two-and-a-half hour fall under its parachutes.
Huygens was a signature achievement of the international Cassini-Huygens mission, which will conclude on Sept. 15, 2017, when Cassini plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere.