Lent Devotion, March 21, 2017

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The Pastor said, “As I’ve listened to each of the stories we’ve told, I’ve been reminded that in one way or another we have all been outsiders and strangers. We’re not always sure where we fit in. It’s helpful to acknowledge that about ourselves, because it can make us more patient with others. And I think it makes us more open to the love of Christ.

“And for Christians, it’s also important that we remember our spiritual heritage, which is: We have been the outsiders! That’s what God is saying to us in these two commands: “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 22:21) And “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:34)

“This experience as the foreigner began during the time of Jacob, when he and his family were threatened by famine. They went to Egypt, where food was plentiful. The Egyptians welcomed them with open arms, and gave them a place to live. But over the generations, the Egyptians began to fear them. They were afraid they might rebel, unite with a foreign power, and destroy Egypt’s way of life. So the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites, and tried to control their birth rates. The Israelites suffered, and cried for help. God heard their cry, and sent Moses to lead them to freedom. They traveled in the wilderness forty years, learning how to live the ways of God. One of those ways is welcoming the stranger, for God didn’t want them to follow the way of oppressing those who were different.”         

Gracious God, do not allow us to forget that we have been the outcaste. Fill us with kindness, that we will welcome those who are different. Amen.

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