I Was a Stranger - 40 days of Scripture

  1. Genesis  1:27-28 - God created humanity in God's own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and everything crawling on the ground."  We are ALL children of God. Therefore all persons are my brothers and sisters. We are all linked as one family. We all, collectively, have the responsibility to take care of our earthly home and ALL of its inhabitants. God, help me to know and love my brothers and sisters. 
  2. Exodus 12:49 - There will be one Instruction for the native and for the immigrant who lives with you.  All of us, native and immigrant, are all children of God who are subject the the same God and the same instructions...that is to love one another and to love God, by whatever name we call him.
  3. Exodus 22:21Don't mistreat or oppress an immigrant, because you were once immigrants in the land of Egypt.  Welcome the immigrant as we would want to be welcomed. All of us Americans, except the Native Americans, began our citizenship as immigrants to this continent, whether our immigration was months ago, or centuries.
  4. Exodus 23:9Don't oppress an immigrant. You know what it's like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt. I am the immigrant. Let me feel what it is to be the immigrant today.
  5. Exodus 23:12Do your work in six days. But on the seventh day you should rest so that your ox and donkey may rest, and even the child of your female slave and the immigrant may be refreshed. Everyone should observe a sabbath day of rest, even children of slaves and immigrants. All should be treated alike in the workplace.
  6. Leviticus 19:9-10When you harvest your land's produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don't gather up every remaining bit of your harvest.  Also do not pick your vineyard clean or gather up all the grapes that have fallen there. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the LORD your God.  Our charity should extend to the immigrant poor as well as to the native poor.
  7. Leviticus 19: 33-34When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. Immigrants must (not should, but MUST) be treated the same as citizens. We are a land of immigrants and our Christian heritage comes out of the immigrant story. What does that imply for health care, education, and opportunity to become citizens?
  8. Leviticus 23:22When you harvest your land's produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don't gather every remaining bit of your harvest. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the LORD your God. Again God admonishes us to share our harvest with the poor and the immigrant. We are not to be selfish and hoard all our worldly goods for ourselves and our family, but rather be generous with those who have less.
  9. Leviticus 24:22There is but one law on this matter for you, immigrant or citizen alike, because I am the LORD your God.  All of us live under the same laws, rules and obligations. We are answerable to God. We are not different, immigrant or citizen.
  10. Numbers 15:15-16The assembly will have the same regulation for you and for the immigrant. The regulation will be permanent for all time. You and the immigrant will be the same in the LORD's presence. There will be one set of instructions and one legal norm for the immigrant and for you. Immigrants and native citizens are subject to the same laws. There is no difference. God does not make a distinction.
  11. Deuteronomy 1:16At that same time, I commanded your judges: Listen to your fellow tribe members and judge fairly, whether the dispute is between one fellow tribe member or between a tribe member and an immigrant. In the courts of the land, before civil and criminal judges, the immigrant is to be treated the same as the native. Judges are to be impartial and fair to all.
  12. Deuteronomy 10:18-19 He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt. We are to go beyond  extending justice to the immigrant. We are to love them and treat them in love.
  13. Deuteronomy 24:14Don't take advantage of poor or needy workers, whether they are fellow Israelites or immigrants who live in your land or your cities. We know from many news reports and from reports of faith-based service organizations that many thousands of immigrants in our country and around the world are taken advantage of by low wages and horrible working and/or living conditions. There low wages keep the wages suppressed and working conditions poor for native workers as well. We know we have an unjust system. Where is our will to remedy it?
  14. Deuteronomy 24:17-18Don't obstruct the legal rights of an immigrant or orphan. Don't take a widow's coat as pledge for a loan. Remember how you were a slave in Egypt but how the LORD your God saved you from that. That's why I'm commanding you to do this thing. Remember that at some time in our lives we have been or will be the stranger. Treat the stranger (the immigrant) as we would wish to be treated - fairly and with compassion.
  15. Deuteronomy 24:19 - Whenever you are reaping the harvest of your field and you leave some grain in the field, don't go back and get it. Let it go to the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows so that the LORD your God blesses you in all that you do. Who are the immigrants, the orphans and the widows in our communities. I think of all the single women trying to raise a family on a minimum wage job. There is simply not enough money to meet basic needs, even when everyone is trying as hard as they can. Faith-based charities are doing all they are able. But we do not have a political will to fairly address the basic nutritional needs in our communities, esp in the large cities because some people want to keep all of their resources to themselves.
  16. Deuteronomy 26:12When you have finished paying the entire tenth part of your produce on the third year—that is the year for paying the tenth-part—you will give it to the Levites, the immigrants, the orphans, and the widows so they can eat in your cities until they are full. Our charity to those less fortunate comes on top of, over and above, our tithe to God.
  17. Deuteronomy 27:19"Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"  Justice is for all people within our borders, for all of our neighbors, for people of the world. "Amen"
  18. Job 29:16I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.  Help those in need. Investigate the root causes of poverty in order to respond in a way that helps people rise out of poverty. Take up the case of the stranger, the immigrant. Why have they come to our land? What is our need and theirs that is being met? How can we (I) extend justice to them.
  19. Psalms 94:6-7They kill widows and immigrants; they murder orphans, saying all the while, "The LORD can't see it; Jacob's God doesn't know what's going on!" What are the policies and our practices that indirectly kill single women and their children and immigrants in our communities? Are we effectively killing them by denying them the opportunities that we call the "American Dream?" Are we "they?"
  20. Psalms 146:9The LORD: who protects immigrants, who helps orphans and widows, but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn! I want to make sure that I am on the Lord's side. I don't want to be counted among the wicked - those who fail to help or worse, bring harm to, the immigrants, the orphans and the widows.
  21. Jeremiah 7:5-7  No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly; if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don't shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin, only then will I dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave long ago to your ancestors for all time. Treating one another justly...that is the key. Extend justice especially to the disadvantaged. 
  22. Jeremiah 22:3The LORD proclaims: Do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor. Don't exploit or mistreat the refugee, the orphan, and the widow. Don't spill the blood of the innocent in this place. Do what is right. Don't exploit the refuge. How doe my consumer choices result in exploitation of the refuge and/or the oppressed?
  23. Ezekiel 22:6-7 Look, Israel's princes, every one of them, have joined forces to shed blood in you.  In you they treat father and mother with contempt. In you they oppress immigrants and deny the rights of orphans and widows. What are the official policies of our government that deny oppress immigrants and deny rights? There seems to be a general acceptance that our national immigration policies need to be revised and expanded. Will our elected representatives actually act together to do what they all claim should be done.
  24. Ezekiel 22:29The important people of the land have practiced extortion and have committed robbery. They've oppressed the poor and mistreated the immigrant. They've oppressed and denied justice. Who are these important people? Does this perhaps refer to the businesses that take advantage of immigrants by paying poor wages and offering substandard working conditions? Does this refer to those of us who are able to pay lower prices for goods and services because of those who have taken advantage of the poor and the immigrant? Are we not equally guilty? Is this me?
  25. Zechariah 7:10Don't oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the poor; don't plan evil against each other! I have just been reading about the exploitation suffered by legal H-2 guest workers. Their conditions are often worse than the illegal immigrants. God does not make a distinction. Exploitation are oppression wrong.
  26. Malachi 3:5I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against the sorcerers, the adulterers, those swearing falsely, against those who cheat the day laborers out of their wages as well as oppress the widow and the orphan, and against those who brush aside the foreigner and do not revere me, says the LORD of heavenly forces.  We should base our judgements of others on God's standards, not our own convenience or profit.
  27. Matthew 2:13-14 - When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him." Joseph got up and, during the night, took the child and his mother to Egypt. Jesus and his family were immigrants, escaping from Herod. You might call them political refuges. Imagine refugees in our community to be as representative of Jesus. How would we treat them then?
  28. Matthew 25:35I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Welcoming the stranger is the foundation of this Lenten meditation. It is what Jesus tells us to do. It may be him that we welcome.
  29. Mark 2:27Then he said, "The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren't created for the Sabbath.
  30. Luke 10:36-37 What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?Then the legal expert said, "The one who demonstrated mercy toward him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."   We have a hard enough time recognizing those who are different as our neighbor. But the heart of the message also is "Go and do likewise." Treat the outcast, stranger, alien, other with love as of a brother or sister.
  31. Acts 16:37Paul told the police, "Even though we are Roman citizens, they beat us publicly without first finding us guilty of a crime, and they threw us into prison. And now they want to send us away secretly? No way! They themselves will have to come and escort us out."  
  32. Acts 17:26-27From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God isn't far away from any of us.  God created all humanity. We all have a common ancestor. We are brothers and sisters in God's creation. Even though we squabble like brothers and sisters, we need to keep in mind the love of our common parent.
  33. Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of God's people, and welcome strangers into your home. We are not supposed to stop at welcoming "strangers" into our country and our community, but we are to welcome them also into our home. "Strangers" are always to be welcomed into God's house as well as into our private home.
  34. Romans 13:1-2Every person should place themselves under the authority of the government. There isn't any authority unless it comes from God, and the authorities that are there have been put in place by God. So anyone who opposes the authority is standing against what God has established. People who take this kind of stand will get punished. We are subject to civil law as well as spiritual law. However, I cannot agree with Paul that all civil authority is established by God. We have a spiritual obligation to work peacefully to bring about just government.
  35. Ephesians 2:14-18Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God. When he came, he announced the good news of peace to you who were far away from God and to those who were near. We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit. Jew and Gentile are one body in Christ. We are together under the new covenant, the good news of peace and love for one another. I would add that Jew, Gentile and Muslim are all children of the same God and ought to respect one another as brothers and sisters in spirit.
  36. Philippians 3:20 - Our citizenship is in heaven. We look forward to a savior that comes from there—the Lord Jesus Christ. We are subject to God's laws above all. While we have obligations to our civil government, we are all subject to a higher set of laws and standards. Our primary rule is to love one another as we have first been loved by God.
  37. Hebrews 13:2Don't neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Open my house to guests. Open my church to guests. Welcome all. The angels will not come as we expect. They may be "among the least of these."

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