The terrain looked fuzzy. Heat has a way of altering our perceptions. The wall was enormous. The square poles made of scrap steel filled with concrete were placed one after the other for miles and miles. The dust grew thicker. People on the other side waved. The ropes used by migrants to scale the wall flowed in the breeze. Shoes littered the landscape. Roadrunners and jackrabbits ran freely back and forth through the barrier. The border between the United States and Mexico is a spiritual place.
Borders are always a product of evil. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the message of Jesus or even basic goodwill can figure this out. You can’t love your neighbor and put up a wall to protect your shit. You can’t love yourself and wall yourself into a closet for perceived protection. The point of traveling out to the desert was not to speak against the evil of borders. One doesn’t have to travel to Douglas, Arizona to do what they can do at home. The point was to commune with the dry bones.
I fell twice on the way up. The view was so stunning that I couldn’t concentrate on the next step. The breeze mitigated the heat slightly. Looking out into the vastness of the desert, I thought about all of the bones of the migrants. I put on a dirty white robe. The same robe that I wore during my arrest protesting deportations at the White House last summer. I put on the colorful stole. The same stole made for me by a Guatemalan woman who lost family in this exact desert. I took out the bread and wine. I could feel them. The prayers grew stronger. I knew they were there. This is the body and blood of Jesus Christ and all of the migrants who died in this desert. In that moment, I knew our communion extended beyond the borders of time and space. We stood in communion with our friends on the other side remembering the lives lost seeking a better life. We stood in communion with the bones of migrants that filled miles and miles of desert.
Can these bones live?
They never died.