I Was a Stranger and You Didn't Welcome Me ...

“I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.”  Matthew 25:42-45

 Dear Sisters and Brothers,

 Grace and peace be with you in Jesus, the unwelcomed stranger!

 I am writing to remind us of our moral responsibility, as Disciples of Jesus, to welcome the stranger. In light of the recent Executive Action taken by President Trump, it is especially important to remember that our sisters and brothers seeking asylum from violence and persecution, not of their making, look to us for protection and safety. The crisis in Syria and the surrounding region is horrific and complicated.

 However, in the midst of this legal and global complexity, our responsibility to care for the innocent, especially the most vulnerable children, abides! 

 This is an invitation to take some kind of intentional action on behalf of these refugees and the scores of others who are affected by our country’s action. Gather with others in your town or city during a time of public witness. Reach out to a neighbor you don’t know and engage in a respectful conversation. Visit a mosque or Islamic Center near you. Write or call your representative or senator. Talk with the children and be a good witness. They are watching.

 In concluding, I ask you to intercede with unceasing prayer.

 - Pray for any unwelcomed stranger.

Pray for those in authority in our nation: the President, the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court, as well as all state and local leaders whom we put our trust in to make fair and equitable decisions for the good of our nation and the world.

Pray for those individuals in nations deemed a threat to us.

- Pray for every citizen in our nation during these troubled times.

When you pray, remember the last two questions in the Baptismal Covenant. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

Be assured of my prayer for each of you,

Doug

Serving as 8th Bishop of Northern Indiana