It was a sweater weather morning underneath a shear blue sky. We drove west of Naco on the Mexican side of the border. The road was rougher than a washboard – at one point we got a little air under Seth’s truck. We journeyed between a multi-million dollar US wall on our right and an old Mexican farm barbed-wire fence on our left. My guess is that the fence on the Mexican side did its job better than the US wall was doing its work.
The Border Guard drove on the north side of the US/Mexican Border wall taking careful notice of us. Paradoxically, there were a few random horses scattered across the rolling high desert south of the ancient barbed-wire fence that also took notice of our travel with curiosity.
After four anxious miles we spied the lone blue flag that was flapping just above the desert brush. Under the blue flag we knew we would find a twenty-gallon drum of water intended for those who were intent on climbing the US wall just yards across the way.
Coming out of the Mexican desert were dozens of fresh footprints. We stood among the evidence of migrants gathered around the water tank. Our voices were as silent as theirs. Our minds reflected on those who had journeyed before us and on those who would follow.
Our small group gathered stones from the dry wash in order to build an Ebenezer. Together, we blessed the stones, placing them where migrants would walk across them. It was our contemplative intent to bless them because we all are making a very similar spiritual pilgrimage – one of desert, fear, uncertainty and hopes for a better life.
Whayne Houghland elected bishop of Western Michigan
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