Pictures of shoes accompanied my last two posts. So today I remember the monument we saw in Budapest called “Shoes on the Danube.”
60 pairs of iron shoes represent the 20,000 Jews who in were shot on the edge of the Danube after being forced to remove their shoes. Their bodies fell into the river and were swept away. Even though their bodies were lost to the icy waters, the monument proclaims that the lives of those who died count.
There is a human tendency to find reasons why our group should fair better than some other group. Some want to wall others out, seeing them as a threat to our way of life. Fear keeps us from allowing cruise ships to dock and puts up roadblocks at state lines. It allows pundits to ask, “should older people risk death in order to insure the survival of our economy?” It is human nature to want to protect ourselves. It is only human to fear.
Yet it is also human to care for others. To see ourselves in our neighbor. We witness the heroic efforts of those on the front lines; the doctors, nurses, rescue workers, police, and yes those who clean our buildings, who pick up our trash, sell our groceries, drive our buses, and all the others who rise above their fears and continue to do what has to be done. Christ taught us to love one another, because each one of us is loved and precious to God. We are each known by God, each remembered by God, and to God, each one of us counts.
Today is Census Day, the day that we in the United States count who is here. Despite some efforts to change the way we use the count, at its heart is the affirmation that everyone counts. It doesn’t matter whether you were born here or came here recently, whether resident, citizen, immigrant, with or without documents, you count.
Information gathered by the census supports how federal funds are distributed to support school lunches, highway construction, firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day. You count. Be counted for them.