“Are you, or have you ever been, a member of an organization which promotes violence, or terrorism?
The interviewer’s mouth creased in a small smile.
“Have you ever been a member of the communist party?”
Jeremiah looked confused.
I butted in.
“He doesn’t understand. The only organizations he’s been involved in are our church, Boy Scouts, and Special Olympics.”
“I understand,” the man across the desk said with a friendly smile. “These are just standard questions.”
Across the country April 15th is a day many of my fellow Americans are nervous about filing their taxes. My wife and I were wondering what the future would hold for Jeremiah.
We were in an office in the Federal Building in downtown Portland. We were all dressed nice. I had put my wedding ring back on for the day.
The man across the desk did not seem the sort to go to the extreme of deportation, but we feared he may feel required to deny Jeremiah many of the opportunities which accompany permanent residency, and then, citizenship.
But it wasn’t like that at all.
Brenda and Jeremiah had the two seat directly in front of the desk. I was pulled up behind and between them. Our attorney sat to the right of us.
The questions were generally routine, except perhaps the first few.
“Why have you waited so long to file for permanent residency?”
Brenda replied, “Because we didn’t know we had to. In all the people we dealt with, the attorneys, the home study people, social security, we were never told we had to do anything.”
Bottom line... the friendly man behind the desk was not a typical bureaucrat, or someone inexperienced with dealing with unusual immigration cases. He had enough experience, enough seniority, that his recommendations carried a lot of weight. And he was a man who saw the reality of the situation and what he could do to fix it.
Brenda had picked up a letter from the asst. district attorney of our county which explained the situation behind the fire at our church nearly three years ago. he too out a highlighter and marked three passages, out it in the file.
After the routine questions he said that he was inclined to approve the permanent residency application. It may take a little while to get his supervisor’s approval, but he would see if he was available right now.
Five minutes later he returned. Asked for Jeremiah’s work permit, saying he won’t need it anymore. He literal rubber stamped the whole thing.
He reached into a drawer, pulled out a huge rubber stamp with small letters describing some sort of bureaucratic approval, and began stamping papers and signing in the areas of the stamping. He stood up, shook our hands.
Tears welled up in our eyes.
The biggest hurdle for Jeremiah had been cleared. he has permission to be a permanent resident in the United Sates of America.
In five years he would be able to apply for citizenship.
I could hardly believe what had just happened.
on the steps leading out of the court house I stopped a stranger.
“Pardon me... We’ve just had a rather significant event of our lives happen. would you mind taking our picture?”
She smiled, stepped back to get us fully in the picture, and snapped the picture.
The word "gospel" is a translation of the Greek word "euangelion" meaning good news, news of victory. The modern words derives from the middle Engilsh words for "God's word". And what He says, happens.
So, that is The Gospel of Jeremiah, today's gospel.