Lent – Day 29 – Jesus Questions

“Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you?” (Luke 6:32)

The world has over 65 million refugees according to the UN. These are people (by definition) who have fled their own country, are living in another country, and cannot return to their home country because of the threat of violence or persecution. Most of them end up in camps or detention centers for many years.

Refugee Camp İn Somalia - Stock ImageOf this extraordinary number, only about 0.5% will be re-settled permanently this year. The issues are complex. Governments rightly have concern about orderly processes, sustainable immigration, and (of course) security.

At the same time, nationalism and patriotism is rising in the West, both in Western Europe and other parts of the world (including the United States). This nationalism expresses itself in protective policies, both economic and security.

And it poses a particular challenge to Christian faith.

Faith expressly identifies us as people who are “strangers in this world” (1 Peter 2:10-12), with a Gospel that is for the whole world, and for whom national identity is arbitrary and historical (not theological).

Nationalism, by definition, means embracing people who are like-minded, committed to mutual benefit, and safe. At its root, nationalism affirms collaboration and mutual protection. It marginalizes those who might interfere with our privileges and opportunities. Such self-serving and fear-based nationalism seems antithetical to the Kingdom message of Christ.

“Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you?” (Luke 6:32)

The world affirms the wonder and beauty of love. We celebrate it in our families. We honor it at wedding ceremonies. We promote it in our communities and congregations. But have we yet come to believe — deeply believe — that Christ can use love to transform enemies, rebuild broken societies, and redeem the world?

In an era of escalating militarism, have we again switched our faith to “horses and chariots,” as did Pharaoh of old?

The real test of Christian faith lies not in providing endorsement for our culture’s preferences, but in demonstrating and calling for a higher way; the kind of love that may, at times, even lead to a cross.

“Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you?” (Luke 6:32)

How should we respond to the public rhetoric of our day? The words reflect more than political punditry. They shape our collective cultural conscience. Has there ever been a more needful time for the clarion call of the Gospel, that would welcome the alien, the stranger, and the refugee?

On this Monday of Lent, let’s take a moment to pray for the multitudes who are displaced and destitute, fleeing and fatherless, violence-affected and vulnerable around the world.

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5 Responses to Lent – Day 29 – Jesus Questions

  1. dotrra@roadrunner.com says:

    Thank you so much for this David. May our heart , mind and soul be drawn to “seeing” with God’s eyes and take action in partnership with him.

  2. Kenneth Wadum says:

    Thanks David. My ongoing prayer as well.

  3. Tim Ross says:

    I welcome the refugees from Syria. They can live next to me. I do not fear them. They are broken, homeless, harassed, and no one cares about them. It is horrible to me how we look at them. God help us

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