The Bible: A Story About Wanderers, Exiles, and Aliens or (We’re All DREAMERS)

142932e37eac5c22b2b023fa75be96ce31227221A friend shared this quote on Facebook, and I felt it was right in line for those of us who have religious convictions in light of Trump and Sessions announcing an end to DACA this week:

The whole biblical tradition is about immigration. About the movement of people from one home to another. Adam and Eve leave Eden and have to make a home and family in a place they never intended. The first story of the Bible is a story of exile and finding home.

 

And so it continues. Noah and his family flee the flood, survive, and build a new home. God calls Abraham and Sarah out from their home. The founder of the three great faiths left Ur to find a home with God. In this story, hospitality emerges as the most important virtue of faith. Welcoming the stranger is like welcoming God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach that human beings are all wanderers, exiles, and aliens. Thus, we welcome as we dream of being welcomed.

 

Jacob was an exile who returned to reconcile with his brother. Joseph went unwillingly to Egypt, eventually leading God’s people to a rich and abundant land. In Egypt, the Hebrew immigrants prospered. But they were so successful that they scared Pharaoh and he made them slaves. Moses set them free and led them back to the land of Israel – exiles back to their home. The history following was one of constant movement, of settlement, exile, immigration, return.

 

The New Testament opens with two stories of movement. Mary and Joseph must leave their town and register in a government census. Thus, Jesus was born away from home. As a result of a prophecy, Herod seeks to kill him. Mary, Joseph and baby flee to Egypt to escape, not to return for years. Jesus first instruction to his disciples is NOT ‘believe in me,’ it is ‘Follow me.’ Because faith is a life of being an immigrant, homeless to find a home in God. And that’s exactly how the early church lived. They left Jerusalem and went to Judea and out into the whole Roman world.

 

The Bible is a document of immigrants, itinerants, exiles, strangers, and sojourners of all sorts. And that’s why we are all DREAMERS. We dream of being settled in grace, in the love and full embrace of God. We dream of a world where all exiles find home, where all strangers rest in peace, comfort, and joy.”

– Diana Butler Bass

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