Saturday, June 28, 2008

God loves the sojourner

17For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:17-19

God loves the sojourner. God loves the immigrant. Remember that we are immigrants in this land. Our home is a far off country. A country that is inhabited by the praise of the Saints and illuminated by the Glory and Splendor of our God. And yet there are many Christians who rally and protest against the immigrants in our country. What if, as believers of this Great Lord of lords, we welcomed and found ways to help the immigrant? What if we offered guidance on how to become a citizen? What if we fought the cause of the fatherless and the widow in our own neighborhoods? What if?

I have heard several calls for mission trips to Mexico. The question I have is what are we doing about the people who are here at our back doors?

As we are about to celebrate our country's birthday let us remember the plaque on Lady Liberty;

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I want to be the kind of person that welcomes all people. Believing that I am a sojourner in a foreign land, I must see and treat others as if we are a part of that far off country. No matter how different they may seem or how similar they are. I cannot neglect hospitality where ever I find myself available to be hospitable. That means being present in my mind with those I am listening to. Loving them by simply listening. Could I do this? Is it possible to just listen?

The problem is that I am not good at this sometimes. I find myself not in the moment usually. I seem to always be thinking about the next thing. Whether it is thinking about lunch when someone is talking to me at church. Or thinking about how I can answer them when I am in a deep conversation. Then there are times that I just do not offer space. I think, I have to keep a conversation going. Like it is my obligation to keep talking. It seems silly, but I guess I am not a fan of awkward silence. I think that is because I am not always confident with myself. Pride. I need to repent of my pride.

Pride is another reason we don't welcome the foreigner into our lives, let alone our homes. The pride that feeds the fear that this person might take "our" time or "our" things. What if we viewed our things and our time as REALLY Jesus'? Then the Lord of lords could do with us whatever He liked. Then the pride burns away and gives way to humility - which draws us into the heart of God and causes us to see things and people His way. Perhaps, this is what God truly wants from us. Maybe this is living "missional". And if this is missional and biblical then we need to ask ourselves, how do we do this in our everyday ordinary lives. We have to kill the routine and come out of our caves and risk getting hurt, even killed. Let's not fear those who could take our lives. Let us fear the one who holds our souls.

Let us hope that this awesome and mighty God will stir in us a heart and a desire to be obedient and be kind to the foreigner in our midsts.


danton said...

Sooo... Are we going to Mexico or what???

Are you telling me that I should consider all of my life a mission ...

Trey Edwards said...

Wonderful point!

Now, how DO we apply this to everyday life? You asked this question of us, it is only fair you get asked it in return :D . How do I, as a 15 year old homeshooled kid, get active in serving the immigrants, legal and otherwise, in this nation?

This is a genuine question, I am asking for practical advice in this area.

brianmetz said...

wow, Trey, I am not sure. I am asking this question being a 31 year old youth pastor who lives in the suburbs. I am thinking about it.