I get it. I really do. The recent terror attacks abroad and the Syrian refugee crisis is a tough issue. Our elected leaders have a really difficult task, in terms of deciding how to balance welcoming people into our country while maintaining a level of security that protects our nation. I get it. The terror needs to stop and the people committing it need to be brought to justice. The world needs peace and security.
In theory, our elected officials are not running a Christian faith based nation. They were not elected on the basis of their faithfulness. This is in theory, of course. Here is what troubles me in this day and age. Many run to court the far right fundamentalist religious vote that they think will put them over the top. They wear their fundamentalist credentials like a badge of honor. Many of these same people now call for us to completely close our borders to Syrian refugees, some even citing God as the reason we should do this. From a government point of view, I can’t speak with any certainty on how we should proceed.I won’t pretend to be a foreign policy expert (although few of our elected officials are either), From a Christian faith perspective, we really need to ask ourselves if this is a faithful response.
The closing of our borders to Syrian refugees really calls us to wrestle with the ethics and teachings of Jesus. Many have cited scripture and I will point you to Matthew 25 and Matthew 2. Our ancestors in faith were wanderers, strangers in a strange land. Jesus and his family were refugees. Following Jesus calls us to see the face of Christ in a Syrian refugee. We are entering into a season where our call is to “let every heart prepare him room.” This means Jesus. This means welcoming a new king and a new kingdom. This means the refugee. Our call to share God’s love and compassion is a biblical theme and one that we must wrestle with during this time and how we as people of faith we might respond.
God works in ways we can’t even begin to imagine and it is often said that God does God’s best work in the darkest of times. I trust that God is working right now in places we can’t imagine going. I also know that God’s table is big enough for all of us. I hope and pray, even in this uncertain time, that fear doesn’t win. I pray that wherever our path forward takes us we may move forward in our own faith, preparing to receive the gift of a child and a new way of life.