Before I start outlining my theme, the first question I ask myself is, "What will be my word for Q and X?"
Always, always X is the tough one.
Many in the challenge use a word that has an X in it, like eXamine, but I try to find an actual X word. So then the dictionary hunt starts and because I've had a Biblical theme my choices are sometimes fewer.
As the world refugee crisis is touching our hearts and minds and fears these past few months the word Xenophobe is being tossed around a lot here in the United States. To be accused of being xenophobic means someone is describing you as
"unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin."
Yeah, we can all be called xenophobic. Prejudice is really the better word, if you ask me. Prejudice is the nature of this beast we wear called the slug suit of sin. It is a dirtier word and it means
"a feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical."
We become afraid and prejudicial of those things we can't predict, we don't know, we don't understand, or we've only heard about from someone else rather than experience for ourselves.
I grew up in white skin world. I probably saw two black people the first 18 years of my life. When I married and moved away and lived in Navy towns, my world suddenly became much more colorful. Then when I got to know a few people who didn't look like me I realized that they were a lot like me and the only thing that was really different about us was our skin color.
I was afraid of that which was not like me, that which was "foreign."
We don't have to be from different countries to go to someplace foreign. Go anywhere in the United States. The customs and traditions of the midwest are foreign to the customs and traditions of the northeast or the south. Sometimes even crossing a county line one can feel they are in a foreign land.
How many cities are deemed "the bad part of town" or "where the bankers live?" We don't need to get on a plane and travel outside of our own country to go to a foreign land.
Some do, I realize. And some are "unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin."
Are you afraid to get to know the person of a different color or religion or denomination who sits next to you at work? Are you afraid you won't have anything in common?
I'm so glad God is not "unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin."
Where would that leave us if he were?
Jesus wasn't afraid to come to our neighborhood, to our neck of the woods and get to know what it's like living as slugs.
Jesus wasn't unduly fearful of this foreign sinful land that he left his sinless home for to love on us and teach us and walk with us and suffer and die in our place.
Aren't you glad?
Aren't you thankful Jesus loves the foreigner, the one so not like him? Aren't you filled with joy when you realize the barriers he busted through to get to you? He didn't worry about walls and documentation and sponsorships. He busted through the walls, he tore up the forged paperwork and he said, "I am your sponsor. You are loved and welcomed in my home!"
We earthly vessels have a lot to figure out as we struggle with our tendency towards xenophobia. Jacob's family, on top of all their soap opera struggles, lived as foreigners in a foreign land. They were looked at as foreigners, as odd, as different, yet their struggles were like our struggles. If we were to sit around their fires or they were to come into our living rooms, after the initial small talk was complete, the stories of struggles could be shared.
Wayward children? Yep, one or two.
Women fighting? Most certainly.
Men who don't listen? Girl, let me tell you!
Fighting children? Ooooo, where do I start.
And then the deeper parts of the soul would be shared.
Broken hearts? Head nods.
Fear? Whispered yeses go around the circle.
What is foreign? Only what we don't know. Once we experience what is foreign we no longer have need to fear it or them or that way of doing things because we've tasted a little bit of what it's like to be the foreigner.
Xenophobic? There is a cure.
Cross the line. Break down the wall. Extend a hand. Bake a dish and bring it to a neighbor. Then there won't be foreigners anymore.