16 So circumcise your hearts and stop being so stubborn, 17 because the Lord your God is the God of all gods and Lord of all lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites and doesn’t take bribes. 18 He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. 19 That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt. 20 Revere the Lord your God, serve him, cling to him, swear by his name alone! 21 He is your praise, and he is your God—the one who performed these great and awesome acts that you witnessed with your very own eyes.
Early in my adult life my husband and I moved from New Jersey to Rhode Island. I found employment in the Personnel Department at the Providence Journal newspaper. I vividly remember touring the building and being introduced to various people in the building. Upon meeting the company nurse, her first words to me were not “Hello” or “Welcome” but “Where are you from? You’re not from around here.” Her tone of voice was even more unwelcoming than her question.
I had just completed a degree in Social Science, and I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the differences between cultures, genders, races, religions, etc. That day, however, I felt like a total alien. I answered honestly “I’m from New Jersey” and then continued with my tour of the building. I’ve never forgotten that exchange. I hope I’ve never made anyone feel as much like a stranger as I did that day.
Everyone should take to heart the words “… because you were immigrants in Egypt.” Human beings are a migratory species and every human being can trace his or her roots to some other place. We all are immigrants.
By Kathleen Stolz
For Pondering & Prayer
Recall how it feels to enter a new place of employment, to start a new school year, to move to a new neighborhood. What would have made your experience better (or worse)?
Prayer: We praise you, Gracious Lord, and give you thanks because you have placed among us pilgrims who travel alongside us and who enrich us with their own beautiful cultures and arts. We praise you, Creator God, and give you thanks because you walk always with those who cross borders in search of well-being, doing their part in building the world you entrusted to us. Amen.