Because the Lord your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty,
and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. He enacts justice for
orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing.
That means you must also love strangers because you were strangers in Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:17–19 (CEB)
America is a land of immigrants. Unless you are Native American, your people came from somewhere else.
When my in-laws immigrated from Germany, just 12 years after the end of World War II, they were not greeted with open arms in a country where anti-German sentiment was still strong. With the exception of a few kind and generous souls who made all the difference in their transition to this country, the good Christians of New England did not adhere to the biblical directives on how to treat strangers in their land.
For those of us who look to the Bible as our guide for living, there isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to how we should treat immigrants. We are to welcome them, care for them and treat them fairly. The government will have rules about who can and cannot live on this land, but our mandate as Christians is pretty clear.
The Jews were strangers in Egypt. Many years later Jesus and his parents were strangers in that same country, fleeing an oppressive dictator who wanted them dead. Our ancestors were once strangers in this land we call home.
We are called to love strangers in our land — not only because we were once strangers, but because we are called to love as God loves.
Action: Look into local efforts to welcome immigrants into your community. Consider ways that you can help with time, money or other gifts you have to offer.
Prayer: God who knows no stranger, help us to love ALL of our neighbors and to make those who have been displaced from their homes feel at home in our midst. Amen.
Anne Russ is an ordained pastor with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She has a heart for small church ministry, Christian camping and the power of the Web to spread the Good News of the Gospel. Anne is a fiercely supportive theater mom, a loud laugher and a lover of good stories. She is a displaced Southerner living in New York who pastors through her online platform, DoubtingBeliever.com.
This year’s Path of Peace reflections are designed to help participants explore peacemaking efforts addressing some of the major issues of our time. The theme for the 29 days of the 2022 A Season of Peace is Led Forth in Peace: Critical Areas of Engagement for Peacemakers. With these daily reflections, we are invited to reflect upon ways to practice peace by engaging the following critical areas:
- Climate change
- The intersection of poverty and racism