Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Displaced people and being saved

Sherry and I have been thinking a lot about refugees lately. This stirs all kinds of grief, joy, despair, hope, and anguished prayers. Our community is getting ready to welcome a family from Liberia at the end of this week and my sister (with her husband and two children) is getting ready to leave her Johannesburg home to participate in the relief work on the Sudanese/Chad border. A friend from Ethiopia taught us how to make bread on the weekend, and some of our friends from Bosnia have just returned with their twoandahalf year old from an extended stay in Sarajevo. Each of these places and people have stories that have profoundly changed the way we live and view the world.(there's more)

Each one gives us pause to reorient our lives and the opportunity to learn more about the heartbeat of the gospel. The Psalm we are reading this week (146) unpacks some of the passions of the creator (and re-creating) God.....the one who made heaven and earth (v.6) is the same one who watches over strangers/orphans/widows (v.9). As I write this our Bosnian friends arrive and I'm having trouble communicating with the little one. He is earnestly showing me toys and describing them in his east-European tongue and I'm frustrated because all I know is "good", thank-you", and "good-night." The best I can do is cuddle him. For the longest time I thought YHWH's call for us to care for the foreigner was for their benefit. Having been caught up in the refugee-settlement work in our city for several years now I'm sure that this work continues to have salvific significance for me.

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