what does it say on the statue of liberty
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s g Florida’s half-open door hrough much of the United States’s history, our country was a haven Articles to read • Keeping America’s T for the world’s people. Now our doors are more closed than ever. Yet agencies of the Lutheran church and other denominations are still dedicated to assisting those who come here in search of fulfilling our uni- door open versal human desires: To live in peace, to live free, to live sufficiently. (July 2003, page 42) • Michiga n: Living in Exercise 1: Bible Exploration: Leviticus 19:33-34 freedom Scripture is extremely clear that God has a special concern for several types of (July 2003, page 42) people: widows, orphans, laborers and strangers or aliens in our midst. • Flori da: æSo t hankful’ Interesting that strangers are included from the list.Who are they? People from (July 2003, page 44) another land who do not speak the language and have no family, community or resources. These strangers were particularly vulnerable for mistreatment, and God singled them out for protection. Though a number of quotations could be chosen for study, Leviticus 19:33-34 is especially good.Prepare by Join the discussion: The making sure there are sufficient Bibles or photocopies of the passage for all. Lutheran offers discussion • Read the passage and summarize the message. boards for the current • Do you think natives sometimes look at the needs of immigrants as and previous months’ less important than people born in their own land? Can you think of study guides. Use these ways this is expressed? Why do you think this is so? boards to share your • Verse 34 says we should not do a stranger wrong. What does this mean? group's insights, ask • What are some ways immigrants sometimes face bad treatment today? By questions and, if you're employers? By American citizens? By government officials? By public policy? not part of a study group, • Verse 35 says a native should consider a stranger no differently, and even participate with other love them as yourself. How is this different than Jesus’ command to “love individuals. www. your neighbor as yourself”? (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27). thelutheran.org/study/. • Given these things, do you think it is an appropriate mission of the church to assist immigrants? Why? Why not? Exercise 2: Where did your forebears come from? Tell Us: Do you find this The names of ELCA congregations reveal just how much we’re a church of guide helpful? Or is it just immigrants: Little Norway Lutheran in Black River Falls,Wis.; La Iglesia useless? Send comments Luterana de Cristo in Freeport, N.Y.;Schwartzvald Lutheran Church outside and suggestions to Reading, Pa.; Stordahl Lutheran Church, Galesburg, N.D.; Redeemer Taiwanese email@example.com. Lutheran Church, Cupertino, Calif.These speak to the immigrant history our church continues to embody. What is the ethnic diversity in your congregation? • Ask members of the study group to say where their ancestors came from. Make a list of the different nations of the world represented by the people present in the study group. • Ask members to share,“What brought your forebears to America?” The Lutheran • How many came to flee oppression of some sort? How many came not 8765 W. Higgins Rd. to flee hardship but to embrace a better life? What were their dreams? Chicago, IL 60631 • What hardships did they face coming to America? Ph.(800) 638-3522, Ext. 2540 • Did any face prejudice or ill treatment as a result of their ethnicity? Fax (773) 380-2751 • How did the church of their time assist them in settling down? firstname.lastname@example.org • Do you think today’s immigrants, though they come from different parts of the world, are drawn for different reasons? s g • Do you think their difficulties establishing themselves in America are different than the ones faced by your forebears? • Do you think the church ought to assist them? Why or why not? Exercise 3: What does it say on the Statue of Liberty? America’s most cherished and easily recognized symbol of freedom came as a gift from one of our closest friends and allies: France. The statue’s artistic title is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Constructed in France, it was painstakingly disassembled and carried by ship across the Atlantic, then reassembled and opened in 1886. Its location on an island in New York Harbor was no accident. It was designed to be one of the first sights that thousands of immigrants to America saw as their ships headed to port, or to that most famous of immigrant clearinghouses, Ellis Island, just a short distance away. Here is what the inscription reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” • What is the essential message of the inscription? • Does it surprise anyone to read the inscription closely and consider the message? • What kind of people is the Statue of Liberty welcoming? • From what nations came the “tired,” the “poor,” the “homeless,” the “tempest-tossed” of the 1ate 19th century? • For them, how was America’s ports the “golden door”? • From where hail today’s “tired,” “poor,”“homeless” and “tempest-tossed”? • For them, how are America’s airports the “golden door”? • What kind of attitude towards immigrants does the inscription reveal? • How are attitudes today different? • Discuss whether you think today’s attitudes are: Good? Fair? Moral? Christianly? Study-guide author Rob Blezard is a contributing editor of The Lutheran and formerly Exercise 4: Discussion questions: editor of the Congregations & • Along with widows, orphans and laborers, the Bible repeatedly calls us to Community section of the care for the strangers in our midst. What do all of these groups have in magazine. A journalist for 20 common that God would instruct faithful people to care for them? How years, he has also worked as a does our church’s outreach and services to immigrants and refugees relate reporter and editor at daily to this call? newspapers and written for many publications. In preparing • What are the needs of the immigrants that come to our country? Of your the study guides, he draws on community? How does your congregation relate to the immigrants in your his experience as leading dis- neighborhood? How could it do a better job? cussion and teaching Bible in • The ELCA is a church of immigrants. In yesteryear, the church assisted various settings over the years, kindred families arriving from Northern Europe. What were the needs and as well as his formal religious training. Blezard holds a Master hardships facing immigrants from Sweden, Germany, Denmark and other of Divinity from Boston Northern European countries? Airplanes from Asia and South America University School of Theology. have replaced boats from Europe. What challenges and problems face these immigrants? Are they different from immigrants of yesteryear?