You are my refuge (featuring a guest blogger!)

Again, was planning on kicking back at my leisurely pace and was going to wait until the Advent season to post a special Christmas post but, again, a world event happens, and people who profess to be Christians respond in a non-Christian way. I’m talking about the terrorist attacks in Paris (and Beirut and Kenya, but they aren’t as well known; this could be the subject of a whole other post, but I’ll leave it at that) and several conservative Christians’ response to it being “don’t let the refugees in! They could be terrorists in disguise!” I had already planned some of a response, after reading articles like this one that stated US opinion was pretty much the same in turning away European Jews during the Holocaust 75 years ago or this one how there have been absolutely no terrorist attacks on US (or North American) soil by the hundreds of thousands of refugees let in since 2001, or even how turning them away is what ISIS wants, as this would either harbor resentment of the refugees towards us, making them more likely to become radicalized, or they turn back to their homes to be killed by ISIS, the very situation they were fleeing (much like what happened 75 years ago). However, a conversation I had today with a very close friend of mine had me decide to take another tactic in this article, and I’m going to let him guest blog this entry. This friend of mine has written a best selling book (well, I guess technically there were about 40 people actually writing down the words) that covers many different topics, but parts of the book actually do talk about treatment of the poor and oppressed like the refugees, and what to do. So, the remainder of the blog entry will just be quoting from his book and I will defer to his expert opinion on the matter. Take it away!

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Jesus said [to an expert in the law]: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan [someone of a different belief system, hated by the mainstream of that society (which would presumably include the priest, the Levite, and the robbed man himself)], as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii [two denarii would be two day’s wages] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.


Our guest blogger can be reached through prayer.

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