Walking in the immigrant’s shoes
One of the issues that’s captured the attention of our nation (and others) is that of immigrants. But if anyone should see this differently it’s the followers of Jesus!
The water-cooler conversation is typically framed from the perspective of the “native born.” (Yes, I recognize the indignation that Native Americans feel at this point). Yet to follow Jesus is to become part of a new kingdom community, one that is not “from here” as we discussed last Sunday. (check out the podcast if you missed it)
And it couldn’t be more clear than from the words of Peter, the leader of the early church.
Live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. (1 Peter 1:17)
Live as foreigners, aliens, strangers here. What does that mean?
- Respect those who are “natives” but don’t think you have to become like them.
- Stop acting like their culture, values, and priorities are those of your people.
- Find ways to celebrate and embrace that which makes you different.
One of the misunderstood phrases that echoes through the early church is that of being “holy.” We sometimes think it’s people acting weird, being uptight and judgmental, and living with a long list of fun-squashing taboos.
In fact, being “holy” is simply acting like people who are not from here. People who represent a different kingdom/community. People who by their actions and lives are examples of a very different way to live…a genuinely human way, characterized by outrageous, sacrificial love and grace. People who look like, and live like Jesus himself.
To live that way will cause you to stand out…to look “different.” Because that’s the calling God has for everyone who joins in the ranks of the followers of Jesus. As Peter put it right before calling us “foreigners.”
But just as he who called you is holy [i.e. set apart for something different/special], so be holy in all you do. (1 Peter 1:15)
Act different. You’re not “from here.” You’re the advance guard of a revolutionary community of grace, led by Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God himself.
So when you think of immigrants, it might be helpful to start thinking LIKE an immigrant. Because if you’re a follower of Jesus, that’s exactly what you are. Walking in immigrant shoes.
-Pastor Mark, immigrant