Tuesday, January 3, 2017

On this Tenth Day Of Christmas, We Pray A Welcome For The Foreigner and Alien

Luc-Olivier "Rest on the Flight to Egypt

"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)

The Bible is a story about immigrants. From the time of his birth, Jesus and his family experienced homelessness, with no room for them in the inn and with their being forced to become refugees in Egypt. Their ancestors Abraham and Sarah were likewise wandering Aramaens, strangers and immigrants on earth, and their Abrahamic descendants were by turn exiles in Egypt, Assyria and Babylon.

Except for native Americans, we are a nation of recent immigrants, and in the case of our local community, a wonderful mix of people representing dozens of different nationalities, languages and cultures.

My prayer on this Tenth Day of Christmas is that we become truly welcoming toward all of our neighbors, inviting them into our homes and into our friendships in the spirit of the text that says, "Do not neglect to show kindness to strangers; for in this way some, without knowing it, have had angels as their guests" (Hebrews 13:2 Weymouth).

I love this Celtic Blessing, referred to as the Irish Rune of Hospitality:

I saw a stranger yesterday;
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place,
and in the name of the Triune
he blessed myself and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones, and the lark said in her song
often, often, often,
goes the Christ in the stranger's guise,
often, often, often, 
goes the Christ in the stranger's guise. 

Here's a link to an earlier refection on "Christians Should Welcome Their Muslim Neighbors".
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