Reflections on the Protest at Bradley

This entry in the Witness Blog was submitted by Mary Sawyer.

Last Sunday, I decided to join in the protest at Bradley International and raise my voice with those crying out against President Trump’s ban on many immigrants and refugees.

I was moved off my sofa and into my car because in my heart, the United States of America is and should be a place of welcome.

Over the course of our history, that welcome has been complicated and convoluted.  It’s been hidden behind caveats and quotas.  But it’s there.  It’s the idea of welcome, not the idea of limits that we hold up, burning as a beacon, at our shore.

Protestors at Bradley Airport on January 29. Photo courtesy Mary Sawyer.

Welcome, to me, is also one of the most important parts of being a Christian.  Throughout my childhood, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was adding to the manger scene.  My sister and I brought tiny plastic dinosaurs to congregate around the baby Jesus.  We added knights in shining armor and little clay animals that we made ourselves.  We added predators and prey, explaining carefully that they could only be together safely at the manger.  Mom never stopped us, and the manger scene grew and grew.  “All shall find welcome at the manger,” she’d laugh as we showed her the new additions.

“All shall find welcome at the manger.”  Of course they will.  Of course lions and zebras and dragons and knights can all gather safely around the manger.  Nothing is stronger than love, and at the manger we find God’s love for us brought into the world.  And all are welcome.

All are welcome, even if it seems a bit scary.  All are welcome, even if we were fighting each other yesterday – even if we’ll fight again tomorrow.  All are welcome.

And so that’s why I went.  That’s why I shouted and sang and held my sign high – because if America is ever to be great, it must be a place where all shall find welcome.

  1. Gerry

    Beautiful, Mary. You said it all. Thanks.❤

  2. Debby

    Well said!! Thank you for being there!