Meditation Monday: Stranger


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“I was a stranger and you welcomed me…”

(Jesus in Matthew 25)

Day by day I’ve been forcing myself to look,

and then look again,

and then look deeper.

To walk away, disrobe myself of the mottled mix of European cultures  turned middle class American mindset,

and look yet again.

With a thinner lens and a broader understanding, I hope.

I’ve been walking through the “I Was a Stranger Challenge” put out by the Evangelical Immigration Table.

Why?

Because a few months ago I was around a table with a Latina sister who apologized for Hispanics and Latinos in the church making the white congregants uncomfortable and sometimes angry.

She apologized for our discrimination and (in more instances than we’d like to admit) hate.

I want you to pause on that one for a second.

Her son translated the grace she was bestowing.   Grace I had neither asked for nor even realized I needed.

Jesus has rarely seemed more real to me than in that moment.

I wanted to cry.

Political ideologies aside, the Body of Christ should never make part of itself feel unwanted or hated or “illegal”. 

This is a witness against the God we serve.

This is sin.

So I’ve read:

“In the image of God we are created…”

Woman.

Man.

Hispanic.

White.

African American.

Native.

All.

I’ve read

“you shall not wrong a sojourner…” in Exodus 22

and then again,  just twenty verses later in Exodus 23:9 “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner.”

I’ve read

“When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.”
and my soul trembled.

For it could easily be said of us that we as Americans know the hearts of sojourners. 

My family immigrated too…at some point in times long past.

I’m willing to bet your family did too.

And so the conversation must change.

Dignity must be preserved.

And within the Body, love must prevail.

Our allegiance as followers of Jesus, residents of the Kingdom is to love God and love each other first.

Love must hem us in before and behind.

Love must be in our speech and in the spaces in between.

Love must be in our eyes, our thoughts, our actions.

Because when we enter this community, we are not white or Latino or African American.  We are not democrat or republican.  We are Jesus’ Body.  God’s presence, God’s image, here on earth.

Period.

And so the conversation must change.

*********************************************************************

I would highly encourage you to check out the Evangelical Immigration Table, the work they are doing to change and engage the conversation and – most of all perhaps – I would encourage you to join me on these 40 days of exploring God’s heart for the foreigner, sojourner, alien and traveler within our midst.

 

ALSO, don’t forget to comment/tweet/share/like to be entered to win Carolyn Curtis James’ Half the Church!
Enter to Win Here!

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4 thoughts on “Meditation Monday: Stranger

  1. What an astonishing conversation. I wasn’t even there & am& flabbergasted that this woman would feel she needed to apologize. Just as astonished that non-Hispanics become uncomfortable around Hispanics.

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