Sometimes it feels like Maine is at the end of the world, or maybe just a world unto itself. It is easy to get lost in the issues and concerns from a very local perspective. But, Maine is not the end of the world and not a world unto itself.
The arrival of immigrants from other parts of the world will be what defines us – how we adapt, how we use new ideas, energy, and relationships will make our history. We need labor, we have extra land, and our weather is generally wonderful. The struggling faith communities are working to do what they can, groups in various communities are banding together to do what they can.
But the dialogues on race, the underlying fears of change, the uncertainty of resources, and the making of room for transformation is sometimes hard to embrace. In the Christian tradition, there is always the call to forgive when we fall short, the presence of a God who will bless and provide, and a love that will be able to cast out all fear. Whether we have the strength and courage to embrace such blessings is up to us, and that is always a challenge.
It is very exciting to have Amjambo Africa as one of the newspapers in our state. As a northern, rocky, coastal state it sometimes feels cold and uninviting. Sometimes we get caught up in who is “from” Maine and who is from “away”. But we are all here, and we all belong. The new voices coming to the state are exciting and will be part of those who will be making our history together with those already here. Soon enough even these new voices will be joining with those who have been here and speaking as part of those from here.
We need new voices, we need new tastes, colors, and traditions in order to continue on in a healthy and vibrant way. If you scratch the history just a bit, one will find that most of us have roots from other places, and this is important to remind us that we are not alone here, but part of the larger whole.
Just as a new baby will forever change the dynamics of a family, or new neighbors affect the surrounding households, new people bring change that is often a deep blessing and sometimes a challenge. But we always celebrate the arrival of a new baby, as it means our family continues on. And without new neighbors, houses next door will deteriorate and cause change for the worse by not having anyone to maintain them. The signs at our border, “the way life should be” or “open for business” has at least claimed our stake as saying in our own unique way, Welcome.
The Rev. Peter Jenks