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Julia Lambert Fogg – Finding Jesus at the Border: Opening our hearts to the stories of our immigrant neighbours

Brazos Press ISBN 976 1 58743 430 3 207 Pages Price £11.99

This timely book arrived as the debates about Black Lives Matter continue to rumble on.  One of the media images of the past decade that stays with me is that of 3-year old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach. It is a vivid reminder of the high human cost of border crossing in the 21st Century.

Fogg, who is a bi-lingual Lutheran pastor in California, reminds us that migration and border crossing are a familiar theme in the Bible. They are key ingredients of the formation and history of Israel and the early Church.

Jesus is, of course, the ultimate border crosser, part of a migrant family that had make the arduous journey from Israel to Egypt, while he was a small child. Jesus would have grown up in a foreign place, bearing some of the stigma of being an immigrant, who does not entirely belong.

In eight chapters Fogg tells the stories of undocumented migrants in the USA. These are people that she knows and has helped in practical ways, and these stories helped me see life through a migrant’s eyes. Alongside these stories she weaves biblical texts that inform our attitude to those who do not always feel welcome.

The stories are moving, and the biblical reflection is full of insight. At times the conclusions are not entirely evangelical, but they will make the reader think. Fogg is really helpful as a model of how actions often speak louder than words.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

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