It’s been the top news story for months: immigration reform. I don’t pretend to know all the issues or any of the solutions, but there are definitely enough opinions on every side. Immigration is a personal issue for me; three of my four grandparents were immigrants from Poland and Ireland during the early 1900’s. They emigrated to the United States in hope of finding a better life. They did find a better life, but it wasn’t easy. It took generations for the stigma of their foreign origin to leave the family crest, but my mother was very proud when she took me to Ellis Island to show me where her parents’ names were recorded as being “received” into the new land of America.
More recently I lived in San Antonio and I worked beside wonderful people who called Mexico their country of origin. They were warm and hard-working, accumulating money to send back to brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins still in Mexico. Family is extremely important to them but they came to America so their children and grandchildren could have a better life.
Since 2007, I’ve been a temporary immigrant traveling on many outreach trips to South Africa and the Holy Land. It is fascinating to see our global world up close, but when I am away, I always know that I will be returning to America again soon.
An on-line dictionary describes an immigrant as a person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another. I have many friends who are cross-cultural workers in foreign lands and they have gone there not knowing if they will ever return to the United States. When we trust in God, our place of residence is never permanent.
As I have become mired in the current immigration debate, I thought about it from a different dimension. Before I was born God knew me and I was a part of His kingdom. When I was born unto the Earth, I was transplanted to a foreign country that was carved on the heels of the sin of Adam and Eve. Earth is a foreign place to me, am I therefore considered an “immigrant”?
The land of our origin is God’s kingdom and that is where we will return. Just like Europeans of the early 1900’s, Mexicans, Chinese, Philippinos and other nationalities, we just temporarily reside in geographic locations artificially created by governments through wars and treaties. We all have the same country of origin: God’s kingdom, and that is where we will all eventually return.
Rather than divide us we should consider that we are all “immigrants” to this land of Earth. Aren’t we all just beggars trying to help each other find food until we can return to our native land?
Blessings, my friend,
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