Last month my blog was titled “Jesus the Refugee.” Much has happened since I wrote that article – only one month ago.
First, the number of refugees continues to grow. According to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), “for the first time since World War II, there are more than 50 million refugees in the world.” The need to help the refugees is greater today than it has ever been.
But the awareness – and occasionally the compassion – sometimes seems to be at an all time low. I posted the picture on the right on my Facebook page.
Although most people responded very positively, there was one who simply commented “hardly.” Yet think about it – sometime shortly after Jesus’ birth, he and his family had to flee from their home to Egypt because the king of the Judea – Herod – wanted him dead. In fact Herod was so insistent on killing Jesus that he had all the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem killed! (See Matthew 2:13-23).
So let’s be clear. Jesus WAS a refugee.
The Bible is full of stories of the importance of welcoming the strangers. The letter of Hebrews in the New Testament even states that we should “not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
So again we must ask – how are we to respond as Christians?
At St. Paul in Carlisle, we have set aside a Sunday to learn and talk and listen about the need of the refugees. Sunday, December 27th is refugee Sunday. We will be talking about it, preaching about it, praying about it. And then we will look at concrete ways that we at St. Paul Lutheran Church can do something about it.
So come join us at St. Paul on December 27th for a special worship service (Saturday at 5:15 p.m. and Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.) and presentation during the Sunday school hour (9:30 a.m.). Come and find out ways that you can help the refugees. Come and find out ways that you can be a blessing to those in need. Come and find ways that you can welcome the stranger.
Who knows – it may turn out to be an angel.
In Christ’s Name,
Pastor Rob Moore