Station II: Jesus takes up his Cross
Reflection by: Rushad Thomas

After his condemnation to death and mocking at the hands of the Romans, the Lord Jesus summoned the courage and fortitude to press ahead with his divine mission of redemption. In reading the passage from St. Matthew’s Gospel that recounts the mocking the Savior endured as he was led away to be crucified, I am reminded of the persecution and reproaches often aimed at our immigrant brothers and sisters. The shouts of “go back home!” or “speak English!” that are often hurled at these new members of our national family wound the spirit not only of our immigrant siblings, but also of those of us who strive to build a welcoming community for them. How do we confront the hatred that comes their way?

The Savior provides our model in this station. In the face of unjust rebukes he soldiered on with his head held high, with the spirit of confidence that came from being the only begotten Son of our heavenly Father. We too are sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, called to take up the crosses in our lives in imitation of the Redeemer. As the Savior said in St. John’s Gospel, if the world hates you, know that it has hated me first. In the face of the hate and lies they hurl at our immigrant brethren, we must remember the truth from Holy God that should order our lives: we are his children, no matter our immigration status, our nation of origin, our skin color, or our native tongue. As the Lord begins his journey to Calvary, may we enter into the mystery of his suffering by recalling the universal, unconditional nature of his love for us: there are no borders, or foreigners, in the Kingdom of Heaven.

A native of Central Florida, Rushad Thomas brings a passion for the Gospel of Welcome to his role as The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relation’s Policy Advisor for migration issues. After working for three years on civic education and historic preservation/interpretation at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, Rushad made his way to Washington, D.C., where he has worked for a variety of organizations, from a higher education policy nonprofit to a grassroots political action
committee. Immediately prior to OGR, Rushad served as a press advisor at the center-left think tank Third Way, where he provided counsel on strategic communication and press operations. Rushad holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida A&M University, a Master’s degree in Government and a Graduate Certificate in Political Management from Regent University, and a Master’s degree in Political Communication from American University. A member of The Episcopal Church since
November 2013, Rushad currently attends St. Monica and St. James Church on Capitol Hill.