Aliens and Strangers

Hi everyone. Rob here.

You may have noticed that the fabric of Western society is changing. Our immigrants now come from Asia and Africa instead of other Western countries. We host refugees who are from multiple faiths and many different nations. They don’t look like us or sound like us. For many the changes are threatening. The Brexit and Trump movements have been expressions of this feeling. Many say we need tougher immigration laws or less refugees or a wall. I wonder if what we really need is a divine perspective.child-1154951_960_720

It was less than 200 years ago when my own ancestors fled a crowded Britain that lacked economic opportunity, desperately hoping for a new start. It was only 70 years ago when many nations opened their arms to Jewish refugees escaping the horrors of Auschwitz and the like. It was 2000 years ago when the Saviour of the world escaped to Egypt with his parents while a tyrant king threw his weight around and sought his death.

The problem isn’t refugees or immigration but a reduced capacity for hospitality and love. Why has this happened? There are a number of obvious reasons. There was 9/11 and the increased threat of terror since then. There is the economic uncertainty caused by job insecurity as technological changes and global recessions take their toll. There is the loss of community as we become connected in clouds instead of in our neighbourhoods. It all leads to a disconnectedness from the things that used to ground us – trust in the nation, regular work and a sense of belonging to a like-minded community. That all puts a strain on our capacity to give and receive love. What then do we do?

We need to go to the source of hope, life and love and take our place in the Divine Community of the Trinity – Father, Son, Spirit. Our primary sense of belonging comes from belonging to God through Christ. Our ultimate security comes from knowing that we are held forever safe in his being. Our true vocation comes from caught up in Gods mission as he puts the world to rights through Christ and his Spirit. In him we are also find that we are loved and we regain the capacity to love others as God pours his love into our hearts. As we experience being known, loved and cared for by God himself, and by his people, we can then pass on that experience to the stranger, the immigrant and the refugee.

This is not a time for the people of God to join the choruses of hatred and resentment, but to proclaim the God of love who presides over the great multitude who come from every tribe, language and nation. Cultural diversity is his idea. Join me in asking God for an increased capacity to love as our world hits turbulent waters. May we show the world Christ as we seek to love in his name.

Grace and peace everyone.

 

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