Guest Blog by John Lamb
Several months ago, I was buying a “tres leches” cake at a bakery called “La Espiga” here in Nashville.
If you haven’t tasted tres leches cake, it’s kind of moist. I don’t really have a taste for it, but it’s my wife’s favorite, and it was her birthday.
As I was paying for the cake, I noticed a box next to the cash register, with this message:
“I need your cooperation with little boy Axel. He was born with a bone problem called ‘antigriposis.’ His parents Alexis and Alan were reported, and the three children stayed behind with their grandmother. I ask you for your help, brothers. May God bless you.”
Axel, Alexis, and Alan: three names of my neighbors here in Nashville. Two of them—the “reported” parents, may or may not return here to Nashville ever again. If they do, it will almost certainly constitute an immigration violation, at least under current law.
Before I sat down at the computer to post this picture and this story, I had thought “La Espiga”—the name of this bakery—meant “the crumb.” Actually, “miga” is the Spanish word for crumb, and “la espiga” means “the head of grain.” It’s a word that comes up a lot in the Bible.
I went looking for some “head of grain” verses, and three of the four times the word appears in the Gospels is in a story about Jesus and his disciples being rebuked for lawbreaking.
One recounting of the story is in Mark 2:23-28 (NLT):
One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. But the Pharisees said to Jesus: Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?
Jesus said to them:
Haven’t you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God (during the days when Abiathar was high priest) and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.
My thoughts turn to Axel, to his parents Alexis and Alan, and to many others like them. They suffer from situations of health and finances, and on top of that, the law. How would their lives change if, each time a Christ-follower entered a bakery, each time we smell the warm aroma of baking bread, we were to feel the snap of the heads of grain broken by the fingers of Jesus’ disciples?
What would happen if we memorized the exact words of the Messiah when He was asked what was wrong with his law-breaking friends? What if we were to remember that the disciples, David and his friends were all on the wrong side of the law, and that Jesus stood in solidarity not only with them but with what they were doing?
All of us know how to pray for the healing of Axel’s bone disease. Perhaps this story teaches us a new way to pray for the reunification of his family.
John Lamb is the editor of HispanicNashville.com, a blog about Hispanic life in Nashville. He is a graduate from the University of Chicago Law School and Texas Christian University. From 2003-2005, John and his family attended Nashville’s Primera Iglesia Bautista, where they learned that many of their dearest friends have no options available to them in the U.S. immigration system.
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