The other day I was at a nearby Walgreens. In our area it’s difficult to not be near a Walgreens. At the checkout counter an older woman was in front of me, though not as old as me, but who is? The woman had two birthday cards. She was asking the young checkout person which she would choose to send, I think, to a grandchild. I wanted to be impatient, but the Lord interfered. The young lady at the counter looked at both cards and then suggested one. “Thank you,” said the grandmother, “I really didn’t want to buy both cards.”
When I moved up, I noticed that the young lady’s name was Je-Dan. “Ah,” I thought, “a Bosnian immigrant or daughter of immigrants.” I’ve noticed the women have interesting sounding names. (Am I profiling? Probably. Live with it.)
As I left the store I thought, “An immigrant, probably a Muslim, who does not seem to be a threat to anyone, but a helpful young lady making her life in her country, just as I am.” After all, I’m a grandson of immigrants. In fact, our families were all once strangers in a strange land which we now call our own. Even the Native Americans who live in the area where I grew up are descendants of immigrants.
We followers of Christ are also immigrants in another way. We are immigrants into God’s kingdom. As St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “Remember that you were at one time separated from Christ… and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you…have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Jesus would have us also remember that we are in the world, but not of the world. We are members of a kingdom not of this world. We do well to remember that in the light of the disparaging rhetoric that bombards our ears and minds in this world.