Sojourners recently posted a list of 22 Bible verses on welcoming immigrants (https://sojo.net/22-bible-verses-welcoming-immigrants) including this one:
Hebrews 13:1-3 – Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.
Providing hospitality for others is not only about feeding, sheltering or clothing them. It is about providing safe space for them to be nourished and nurtured, welcomed and accepted for who they are, wherever they are on life’s journey. It takes imagination to wonder about another’s circumstance. It takes compassion to do that imaginative work without being judgmental.
At the recent annual meeting of the Wisconsin Conference UCC, speakers and presenters focused on the topics of racism and white privilege. A theme repeated often was the need to listen to each other’s stories. To simply take in another’s experience. Learn more about another’s history. Read books and listen to podcasts from other cultures. Consider the breadth of history and politics, and how that affects us and others.
I am among those who are heartbroken as I see images of children being housed in cages, separated from their families after crossing our country’s borders. When and how this practice originated is a hot topic of conversation. Even as I write, there is some hope for change. Honestly, I’m realizing I know very little about what might drive a person from their home or country, and risk being separated from their children. I know next to nothing about how the immigration process works, or how a person seeks asylum in our country. I do know that scripture calls me to remember those who are…in whatever circumstance…as though I were, too.
So I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some learning to do. And some listening. How about you? May our conversations be rooted in compassion, and our learning about each other’s circumstances be a part of creating a better world for all.
Your friend and fellow traveler on the journey,
Pastor Kathryn Kuhn