Rev. Sonia Brum Ortigoza
The Bible as the Ultimate Immigration
• Take a moment and consider your personal migration.
• Are you where you were born?
• Have you moved, and, if so, for what reason?
• How many times have you moved?
• Many of us move by choice, others by necessity, and
others by force.
• The Bible begins with the migration of God’s Spirit and
ends with John in exile on the Isle of Patmos. Between
those two events, the uprooted people of God seek
safety, sanctuary, and refuge, and the living God gives
directions for welcoming the stranger.
• In the beginning, all was darkness and void, and the spirit of God moved
(migrated) over the face of the chaos (Genesis 1:1).
• To move is to migrate. The biblical story is a migration story.
• The Bible begins with God’s spirit migrating over the face of the water,
followed by God, who, after creating the birds, fish, and animals (all of
which migrate), moved throughout creation looking for a caretaker for this
world. Not finding one, God said, “Let us create humankind, male and
female, in our own image...” ( Genesis 1:26).
• That story is told throughout the Bible and continues to this day in the
movement of the migrating pilgrim people of God, who continue to move,
to multiply, and to maintain the earth.
• The book of Exodus, the story of the Exodus – is the
story of the movement of the people of God away
from slavery and injustice to freedom and new life. It
is perhaps the world’s greatest and best-known
• God is a migrant moving with the people!
Throughout the Book of Exodus, God traveled with
the people and continues to travel with the migrants
• The New Testament begins with a migration story, and
perhaps the only documented, recorded “alien” story. Alien is
a term that is offensive to many, as it brings to mind a vision
of someone from outer space.
• Looking at it in that manner, one might say that perhaps Jesus
was truly an “alien.”
• He came from heaven (the outer limits of space – although he
did tell us the kingdom is within) and took the form of a
human being to become for us the Refugee Christ.
• Jesus was born in Bethlehem, to which his parents had
traveled because of the taxation decree.
• Tradition say the Christ Child was born in a manger, a stable,
a shed like the children of many of today’s migrants, who are
born along the road as their parents seek work and a place to
• The news of his birth was given first to the shepherds, the
group of people lowest on the social scale at that time. They
were also a group of migrants, who moved and lived with
their flocks doing seasonal work.
• According to Luke, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph stayed in Bethlehem until
they took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated and then
returned to Nazareth.. According to Matthew, they stayed in Bethlehem
until the visit of the Magi.
It is estimated that Jesus was about two years old at the time.
• An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child
and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for
Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.
• Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to
Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what
had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have
called my son” (Matthew 2:13-15).
• However, if the Holy Family arrived at a U.S.
border today, it is most likely …
• Have a visa, passport
God of all people, your child was born
into a culture that is alien to us,
but his message is relevant today in this place.
Jesus is perceived in different ways by different cultures.
It is your grace that brings all those cultures into one.
Help us not to impose our values
on others and pretend they are your values.
May we remain open-minded and open hearted. Amen