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					     Devotion
      organized by
Rev. Sonia Brum Ortigoza
          2006
                 The Bible as the Ultimate Immigration
                               Handbook




•   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
  migration story.

• 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
  today .
• 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
  call home.
• 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
• …
• …
                          Prayer

          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

				
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