So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
— DEUTERONOMY 10:19 (NLT)
An old Southern spiritual reminds us “this world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through.” Indeed, we are citizens of heaven; we are pilgrims and foreigners in this land. It could be said that we all have an immigrant story because our family histories have us coming from elsewhere. In this way, we can relate to the new immigrants on our street, in our school or at our workplace; we have a story to trade with them.
If we read the Scriptures through the eyes of an immigrant, we see how there were laws and provisions for the foreigners, aliens and the strangers who found themselves amongst the people of God. During harvest time, for example, the instruction was to leave some grain for the foreigner or stranger in their midst.
Jesus carried on this value of paying attention to people on the edge, on the fringe, the neglected ones of society. An example is how he engaged with Samaritans. The letters of Paul instruct the Church to use gifts of hospitality to link with and engage the outsider, the alien, the stranger, the foreigner in our midst.
With 200 million people migrating today, Scripture brings fresh impetus to our lives as Canadian Christians. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the foreigner, the new immigrant, the stranger or outsider whom he puts in your pathway. Ask him to help you take the first step towards them as Jesus would likely do.
1. Ask God to open your eyes this week to notice strangers, and to say an affirming word to foreigners you encounter today.
2. To which immigrant individual or family can I show hospitality in the next three months?
Ron Brown is a missions coach based in Calgary. He has held several positions with the C&MA, including 26 years as a missionary in Africa. His 2014 memoir, Intersections, can be found at ronaldbrown.ca.