May 21, 2013: Jesus was an illegal immigrant

Posted on : May 21st, 2013 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Isn’t it amazing how you can hear a bible story over and over again and still miss the obvious!

Just about every year around Christmas time, we hear these words from the Gospel of Matthew:

Behold, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy (kill) him.”  And Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.”

Matthew 2: 13-15

A week ago at the Annual Gathering of our Southern California Nevada Conference of the UCC, Rev. James Moos preached.  Jim is one of the five members of the Collegium of Officers of the national setting of our new denomination, the UCC.  He is the Executive Minister of Wider Church Ministries.  “Wider Church Ministries” means our global outreach and partnerships.  (Its counterpart is “Local Church ministries.”)   BTW, we’re on a first name basis with Jim after inviting him to join us for breakfast.  We didn’t even know who he was when we invited him to join us!  Hortensia also invited him to Worship in the Park, and is dead set on getting him out here for that gathering!

At the beginning of his sermon Jim commented on the extravagant welcome he received from the West Hollywood folk!  (Go, Hortensia!)

In his sermon Jim shared that one of the major humanitarian issues of our day is human migration.  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of folks who live in extreme poverty and/or war-torn countries are migrating in mass.  Some of those folks are sheltered in migrant camps; others cross borders seeking a safer and better life.  In the US we have approximately 11 million folks who have crossed our border without documentation seeking safety or a better life.  That better life is often not for the ones crossing, but for their children – the next generation.

Jim went on simply to say that Jesus and his mother and father, Mary and Joseph, were one of those immigrant families who migrated from Bethlehem of Judea to Egypt because Herod had threatened to kill their child, Jesus.  They crossed a border illegally.  They had no documentation, no Visa, no permission.  They fled.  They fled in fear.  They fled in fear in the dark of night to a foreign country to save their child’s life.  Even Jim confesses, “I never really noticed that Jesus began his life as an illegal immigrant.”

Never before had I thought about Jesus beginning life as an illegal immigrant.  I wonder what those who espouse such strong anti-immigrant attitudes in our country would do with Jesus, Mary and Joseph?  Would they deport them or let them stay?  Would you kick Jesus out?  Or send him to a camp?  Or would you welcome him?

Blessings,

Dan

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