I am going to copy excerpts from a recent blog I have on our Fellowship Presbyterian Church blogsite. It speaks to an important issue we face in these times.
Recently I attended a day-long Legislative Seminar sponsored by our NC Council of Churches and learned of the almost unsolvable concerns of immigrants, especially Latinos, who are given so little in terms of a welcome from the general public. We enjoy their labors but we don’t seem to enjoy their presence, judging by the efforts to get as many as possible back to their home countries, however that may be accomplished – either legally or illegally. We are reluctant to educate them or train them or raise their economic situation, all of which would in the long run make them contributing members of our society. I think we have a different standard when we read our scriptures, which call for us to “welcome the stranger.” We too once were strangers, or our ancestors were, for all were immigrants to this country except for the native peoples, and they too may come from immigrant stock of several millenia ago.
St. Benedict made hospitality a prime standard for his group of monks. As Sister Joan Chittister's commentary on the Rule of Benedict, notes about this matter of hospitality: “Hospitality in a culture of violence and strangers and anonymity has become the art of making good connections at good cocktail parties. We don't talk in elevators, we don't know the security guard's name, we don't invite even the neighbors in to the sanctuary of our selves. Their children get sick and their parents die and all we do is watch the comings and goings from behind heavy blinds. Benedict wants us to let down the barriers of our hearts so that this generation does not miss accompanying the innocent to Calvary as the last one did. Benedict wants us to let down the barriers of our souls so that the God of the unexpected can come in.” She adds, “ . . . hospitality is clearly meant to be more than an open door. It is an acknowledgement of the gifts the stranger brings.”
Isn't it time “to let down the barriers of our souls” and let the God of the unexpected enter in?