The number in the President's plan is really token. Tiny Sweden with under 10 million citizens, half the population of Florida, has received 120,000 refugees just this year with 50,000 more expected by year's end.
Some of the nation's presidential candidates, governors, mayors, and members of Congress, incoherently believe that terrorists may be among them. Yet there is a 21 step US screening process involving an alphabet soup of government agencies, including security and intelligence, that takes at least 2 years to complete. Besides, this batch of refugees has been waiting in Jordan for 3 years. (FYI: Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey together have over a million refugees.) Surely the terrorists are smart enough to figure out a better way to gain access to the USA, like go to Canada and walk across the border. And by the way, the refusal of refugees showed in a Congressional vote that such a foolish and ugly response was quite bi-partisan.
In Deuteronomy 10, God spells out divine concern for the widows and orphans, which we expect. But God then includes the alien/stranger in the land, following up with an instruction, 'you shall also love the stranger' just like God does. 'What? Why' 'For you were strangers in the land of Egypt;' that's why, says God. Ah, how quickly they forgot.
The irony of the US refusing refugees at Thanksgiving, a holiday whose narrative is of the people of the land providing assistance to the refugees whose back is to the wall, has been lost on the refuseniks. Let's also realize that by the end of the Nativity story (next Sunday begins the Advent/Christmas journey), Jesus and his parents are refugees in Egypt, according to Matthew. Ah, how quickly we forget!
Paul in his letter to Ephesus mentions how they were all aliens and strangers to the covenant of new life and apart from God until Jesus brought them hope and promise in his good news. For them to be squabbling over who is in or out, included or excluded, is stupid. Jesus did not come to bring division. Rather, Jesus unites them and adopts them into the family of God as his own sisters and brothers - no longer aliens and strangers.
On Christ the King Sunday, we're reminded of the King separating the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. You know the passage; "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink ...." What comes next? "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Oooh, yeaaah.
Sorry, the camera did its job by all outward appearances, and showed recording for about a half hour (typical), yet nothing was there when I went to retrieve and edit the file. Huh. Well, you can still download the text below as well as the Fairfielder.
By the way, if you have had problems opening the sermon text, a PDF, let me know, but be sure you have Adobe Reader installed among your programs. It's needed to open the file. (If you don't have Adobe Reader, click here - it's free but be careful about the junk they may try to get you to download along with it, like McAfee Anti-Virus.)
Don't eat too much for Thanksgiving and be blessed!