“We who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.”
~Hebrews 6:18b (NRSV)
I have witnessed something beautiful in the midst of the countless personal conversations, posts, articles, and memes in regard to Syrian refugees. For a while now it seems almost every public “issue” that has come up has caused a politically liberal / politically conservative divide. I share Facebook and life with Christian friends of both persuasions, and this refugee issue is the first in a while where Christians of all political perspectives seem to be shouting out together, in unison, in love and concern for Syrian refugees. Now let me be clear, by “Christian” I mean those who actively follow Christ, in part by being actively involved in a community of faith, devoted to prayer, scripture reading (having actually read the Bible in faith), and committed to works of mercy in Christ’s name. I do realize that there are those who call themselves “Christians” who desire to block refugees, but the truth is that even apart from this issue most of those folks have long been living lives tied more to their political views than to any authentic Christian community. If anything, this issue has made clearer the line between the Church in America and the American “church,” and that is a beautiful sign of hope for the true Church’s future in this country.
I realize that I have not offered a theological case for opening our borders and our homes to Syrian refugees. It isn’t necessary. God’s kingdom isn’t revealed to those outside the Church by means of a witty demonstration of Christian logic (though we sure do try hard, don’t we?). The Apostle Paul makes clear that all either live by the Spirit or by the flesh. It is the Spirit that allows us to live and love like Christ without fear of even our own future (we know who holds our future!). Theological ramblings have little power for those living fully in the flesh, though I am certain that God’s grace continues to reach out to seek to draw even the “fleshliest” among us into a new way of living and loving that truly can cast out all fear.
All that to say… I am hopeful, friends. I believe that as we continue to look to Jesus instead of the agenda of the political side of our leaning, God’s Spirit will continue to unite us as One, moving us together towards that day when all will see that in Christ there is no longer Jew or Gentile, Slave or Free, Male and Female, Republican or Democrat, American or Syrian.