And those strangers were Israelites fleeing famine, fleeing war, and fleeing oppression. The same things our European ancestors were fleeing when they came to America, whether as Pilgrims running from England in search of religious freedom, or Italians, Poles, and Germans seeking escape from poverty, and the Irish leaving a murderous potato famine that took so many lives through starvation. Or Jews fleeing religious persecution and seeking freedom to worship. All of us were strangers in the land. And all of us should be cautioned not to oppress the stranger in our land today.
Today, we just celebrated Columbus Day. Mostly, it's a day spent contemplating fall sales in the malls and shopping centers. It might be worth also remembering that Christopher Columbus set sale for a new world. One which quickly became a haven for those seeking relief from poverty and oppression. And those searching for freedom and a new way of life.
Spotter, from VB Dems, was kind enough to share with me this creedal statement, which was read in churches around the world for World Communion Day. It’s worth reprinting and contemplating at the end of Columbus Day.
Immigrant CreedAnd Happy Columbus Day to all the children of immigrants, like me!
I believe in Almighty God, who guided the people in
exile and in exodus, the God of Joseph in Egypt and
Daniel in Babylon, the God of foreigners and
I believe in Jesus the Christ, a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home, who
fled his country with his parents when his life was in
danger and, upon returning to his own country,
suffered the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate,
the servant of a foreign power. He was then accused,
persecuted, beaten, and condemned to death unjustly.
But on the third day this scorned Jesus rose from the
dead not as a foreigner, but to offer us citizenship
in heaven.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal immigrant
from God's kingdom among us, who speaks all languages,
lives in all countries, and can reunite all races.
I believe that the church is the secure home for the
foreigner and for all believers who constitute it, who
speak the same language, and have the same purpose.
I believe that the communion of saints begins when we
accept the diversity of the saints.
I believe in the forgiveness that makes us all equal,
and in the reconciliation that identifies us more than
race, language, or nationality.
I believe that the resurrection of God will unite us
as one people in whom all are distinct and all are
alike at the same time.
Beyond this world I believe in Life Eternal, in which
no one will be an immigrant but citizens of God's
kingdom that will never end.