by: David Jaimes
George Fox had a vision.
“I came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered.”
I wonder what Fox might have seen. How vast was this group of people? What kinds of people were there? And if today, the Quaker diaspora were to gather with George Fox there as witness, would we confirm his vision?
I don’t think so.
As a new Friend, I do not see that these questions are being answered sufficiently. For instance, it takes only a glance to see that there is but little progress in reaching diverse people groups here in the U.S., especially when compared to our efforts abroad. But what if the Latino Church is the next face of American Christianity? This possibility helps me to understand more of what the Lord wants from his people and allows me to catch a glimpse of what Fox saw on that great hill.
It should also concern us.
We should be concerned about the unjust way our nation treats its immigrants. If the Latino Church is the next face of American Christianity, then the cause of immigration reform is a cause for every Quaker.
Immigrants face separation from family, marginalization because of their heritage and language, the abuse of their labor, obstacles to citizenship in spite of their investment. These are moral concerns. And such inhumane treatment must stop.
In addition, the Latino community among us has a rich perspective on life and especially the spiritual reality that we live out. The life of an immigrant is a powerful metaphor for the Christian journey. The Latino people thrive in community, love God and others, deeply desire to serve. Which is why their lack of influence in the North American Church today shows that there is much to be done if there are many to be gathered.
To be a great people, we must include the marginalized people around us. Jesus said that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. There is no greater posture than to put someone else before yourself. Christ did, and so must we as a people of the Light, especially as a people called by God to gather the people of God.