My week here on the border will change me. My hope is that this time will also help me to change others.
But words only go so far.
Throughout human history – from cave paintings 50,000 years ago to today – art has been the universal language of our species.
The Borderlinks offices are filled with art of all kinds, displaying a world that many only read about or hear described on the news. Even before we begin our immersion into the world of the undocumented, we are surrounded by their message, from photos to posters to original artwork.
Not surprisingly, images of Jesus and Mary are common. Whatever the faith tradition, however, most striking are the themes of devotion, of belief, of love. The people seeking freedom from oppression and violence in our country are people devoted to the moral teachings of a fellow traveler, whose ancestors also walked to new lands to escape oppression. Their law teaches them to welcome the stranger, to love even one’s enemies, and to treat every person as brother or sister.
One of the sources of Unitarian Universalism is the teachings of the Jewish and Christian traditions – the laws of Moses, the justice of Isaiah, the wisdom of Solomon, and the gentleness of Jesus. We, too, can find meaning and inspiration in art, regardless of the theology of its creator.
Art is not neutral. Art does not discriminate. Art can be used for evil purposes. But art always reveals a truth; a truth about the artist as well as a truth about ourselves.