Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
Because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt
Rev. Ginna Bairby
We went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
Reflection: God spends so much time in the Hebrew Scriptures reminding the people of Israel where they came from. We hear the refrain, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the Land of Egypt.” It is important to God that the people never forget where they came from.
We would do well to remember where we came from, too. Every person in the United States who is not a Native American comes from a family of immigrants. Whether first generation or tenth generation, the majority of people living in our nation are people who have journeyed from one place to another.
The Bible is a complex and contradictory document. Rarely does it speak with one voice on an issue. But when it comes to immigrants and foreigners, Scripture is consistent and clear:
“When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” (Lev 19:33-34, CEB)
God wants the Hebrew people to remember who they are and where they came from. Their ancestors were strangers in the land of Egypt; therefore, they are called to welcome the stranger in their own land.
We too are called to welcome the migrants and refugees in our midst. Perhaps it’s time we began to remember where we came from.
Action: Spend some time today exploring your family history. How did you get to where you are today? Did your ancestors move from another state? Another country? Where have you seen God walking with you on the journey? Where do we see God walking with migrants and refugees?
Prayer: Wandering God, thank you for reminding us where we have come from. Sojourner God, be with all people who journey today. Holy Spirit, inspire your church to hospitality. Amen.
Rev. Bairby is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Taos, NM. She has worked in the PC(USA)’s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries and served as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Peru 2009-2010. She holds an MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary.
This year’s A Season of Peace Resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the 29 days of this year’s Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:
- What does it mean to commit to Peace?
- Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
- Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
- Making peace by ending violence
- Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
- Partaking in peace in worship and at table this World Communion Sunday and through the Peace & Global Witness Offering
Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 1, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 6.