[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]
To the Burien Community:
Within Christianity, different sects emphasize a variety of theological beliefs. At Highline United Methodist Church, we believe God is an abundant God who provides for humanity through the abundant richness and diversity of the earth. It is up to humanity to steward these resources such that each person may thrive and not at the expense of another human or any piece of the natural world. Out of abundance, we practice the principles found in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 34-40.
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ (Common English Bible)
As the operator of the Burien Severe Weather Shelter, we share the resources of our facilities and invite the entire community to share in this endeavor of neighbor helping neighbor. Together there is always an abundance in which all are welcomed, fed, clothed and sheltered. And at no time are we unable to continue our work of the Severe Weather Shelter because we choose to help others.
As the needs of the asylum-seeking immigrants begin to rise in our area, it is not a time to hoard our resources and close our doors out of the fear of scarcity. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 10, verses 14-19, God instructs the people to “love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.”
14 Clearly, the Lord owns the sky, the highest heavens, the earth, and everything in it. 15 But the Lord adored your ancestors, loving them and choosing the descendants that followed them—you!—from all other people. That’s how things still stand now. 16 So circumcise your hearts[b] and stop being so stubborn, 17 because the Lord your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. 18 He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. 19 That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt. (Common English Bible)
God’s act of love in this scripture passage is to enact justice and give food and clothing. My grandmother taught me this lesson well. Her parents emigrated from Scotland in 1888. She knew how they struggled in a new country. In turn, she tutored her Hispanic neighbors in English and paid for the mother to attend a two-year course at the local community college to become a secretary. Because we were immigrants, we loved our immigrant neighbors. My grandmother was not rich, she did not leave an inheritance to her sons, but she did steward the resources God provided so her family and her neighbor’s family could both thrive.
At Highline United Methodist Church, we experience the abundance of our community every time we open our doors to a person in need. We offer our resources of site and administration while many, many others provide from their resources of food, clothing, and volunteer time. Whether our neighbor is of another faith tradition or no faith at all, we value the contributions of resources each brings so others may also thrive. We may not all agree on approach, but I do believe that there are plenty of resources when we live out of love instead of fear, out of abundance instead of scarcity.
We give thanks for all of you who have partnered with us, especially over the past five years, in serving this community.
Rev. Jenny Partch
Highline United Methodist Church
13015 1st Ave S., Burien
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