Mindfulness might be most often associated with religions that advocate meditation, but the Rev. Daisy L. Machado said it’s a trait Christians need to develop in relation to immigration.
“If we are a people of faith and we’re called to a certain belief and certain kind of way of looking at the world, which the Bible says comes to us from the prophets, from the teachings of Jesus, then what is it that we can bring to the public square?” she said.
Machado will give a lecture titled “Immigration, Faith and the Public Square” at 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy.
Machado said this mindfulness of how faith communities impact the larger world is not just a matter of understanding the way public and economic policy affects the lives of immigrants, but a matter of covenant, the sacred agreement between God and human beings.
For Machado, people are all connected in a covenant relationship because people were created in the image of God. She said this relationship expands past the U.S. and ties into immigration and citizenship.
“We have a lot of political language from the contract with America,” Machado said. “Covenant is something deeper.
It has to do with how we understand ourselves, our relationship to our brother, to our sister.”
When considered from this perspective, Machado said the issue of immigration becomes more human and less abstract.
“We don’t look at the other human side of it,” she said. “What does it mean to leave everything that has shaped you, that has given you life, to give that up to come to a community that, in many times, is very hostile?”
Machado is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the first U.S. Latina to reach that status in the Northeast Region. She is currently a professor of church history at Union Theological Seminary. She has previously served the Chautauqua community as a chaplain-in-residence in 2013 and 2014.
Machado said the way she reads the issue of immigration through the lens of Christianity comes from personal experience, a narrative that starts with her immigration to the U.S. from Cuba.
“I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding, even though this is a nation of immigrants, made up of all immigrants except for the native peoples,” Machado said. “We kind of forget what that meant and what that journey to this place means, all that you have to give up, all that is lost and all the things that are regained in different ways.”
Part of Machado’s work includes taking groups of students and other interested parties to the border between Mexico and the United States to work with new immigrants. She said these immersion experiences, along with programs that create a sense of community and provide worship and service engagement for immigrants.
“I think that as a church community, which is a worldwide community that is called to be the community of the globe, we sometimes lose that perspective,” Machado said.
“I think we’re sometimes too inward looking. And I think that the Christian community needs to be looking at a bigger understanding of themselves in the context of the world that they are engaging in in a daily way.”