Welcoming the Stranger
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Like many in recent days, I have found myself thinking a lot about these two beautiful passages; one fundamental to who we are as Christians and the other a cornerstone of our identity as Americans. And despite the terrible executive order related to immigration that was signed last week, I know that for millions of us, the principles behind these two passages are what continue to guide us.
It is certainly what has guided so many in our surrounding communities to work together in support of the Syrian Refugee resettlement effort that has been underway in Massachusetts for the past several months. Temple Beth Elohim, a congregation that we at Village Church have had a close relationship with for several years, has been very involved in this effort. In addition to being members here at Village Church, my family and I are also members of Temple Beth Elohim. I have been part of the Refugee Resettlement Team since the fall and it has been a gift to be a part of this team as we thankfully welcomed our first Syrian family three weeks ago. They join 5 other families who also arrived prior to the ban. They are a lovely family with 4 children, ages 2 to 8 and they are beginning to settle into their new home and community.
A group from the Temple stopped by for a visit over the weekend and were warmly greeted by the family. As the parents were serving coffee and sweets to their visitors, one of the young daughters disappeared into her room. She soon returned, carrying a play tea set and proceeded to carefully serve all the guests “tea”. Though the group didn’t share a common language, the common language of smiles and laughter was all that was needed. ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ Even a three year old knew that is just what you do.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us lift our lamp and welcome the stranger in every way we can. Amen
Wellesley Village Church will be holding a special gift card collection for the refugee families on Sunday, February 12 during both services of worship. If you would like to participate, please plan to bring your gift cards for Target or Stop and Shop to church that Sunday. For those not able to attend worship that day, or for further information, please contact Lisa Weinstock at [email protected].