How pleasant it would be if every moment of life was an expression of God’s Love, an opportunity to experience the truthfulness of the Divine. All of us are aware God’s presence as we watch a magnificent sunrise, or sunset, hear beautiful music, or watch baby birds growing in a nest outside our kitchen window. How fortunate we are to be able to experience this magnificent godly love.
Our thoughts need to be deeper than just a magnificent sunrise. As Marie Howe expresses in her poem The Map, “The failure of love might account for most of the suffering in the world.” This must include all suffering that we as children of God must address, or we do not deserve to call ourselves Christians, or Muslims, or Jews. In all our holy books, the call for love from God is strong; the call to welcome the stranger is a commandment.
Instead, we reject the stranger. Lindsay Hardin Freeman says the following in her novel Bible Women: “Fleeing one’s home in time of war is a heartbreaking last resort. Victims don’t leave for trivial reasons—because the price of food is too high. They run for their lives, in poverty, often alone, always in the shadows of death and destruction.”
These are truly victims of war; they are running for their lives. Can we honestly reject these people because they look different from us, call God by a different name, or speak a different language? If we are truly people of faith, we must reach out our hands to provide homes and comfort for these fellow sojourners. To do less is to violate Jesus’ second commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Dr. Russell Carter
November 1, 2016