Everyone has a story to tell, that says who they are. In seminary we learned that the story of the people of Abraham can begin this way: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…” (Dt 26.5)
Recently I began to wonder how that reads in the King James. So yesterday I got out Aunt Carol’s Bible and read Deuteronomy 26.5: “A Syrian ready to perish was my father...”
As people of faith we are all children of Abraham, children of that Syrian in distress. That is our story.
And again I looked in Aunt Carol’s Bible, for the lesson for this Sunday, from the prophet Isaiah, and found it marked for me:
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. [rear guard]
(Isaiah 58:6, 8)
May we be your hands and your voice in this effort at common humanity. For we were strangers once…
You have brought us out of exile or danger or self-satisfaction. You have carried us through the wilderness of our own desires. You have been faithful where we have not. And yet you love us. Help us to share that love now with others. And bring them justice. Amen.
(Closing prayer for the Press Conference, Resettlement Agencies, Actual Refugees, and Faith Leaders Call Out The Truth About Refugees, 9.30am, Friday, February 3, 2017, hosted by Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Tucson. Convened by Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.)