Monday, 3 July 2017

Immigrants - Sunday 2nd July 2017

Immigration is a major issue across the world at present. It has been a key factor in recent elections including Britain, France and the USA. Italy is expressing major concern about it. This is nothing new. Immigration was a significant issue back in the days of Moses.
As the Israelites were preparing to live in their own land for the first time, God gave them comprehensive guidance through Moses as to how they should conduct themselves. The subject of how they should treat immigrants features repeatedly. That divinely inspired guidance is just as pertinent today as it was over three thousand years ago.
The first instruction is that there should be one law for everyone, native and immigrant. This repeated instruction gives immigrants equal rites and it also gives them equal responsibilities. Immigrants are to be treated no differently from anyone else. This equality extended to worship. All immigrants were invited (but not commanded) to take part in Jewish worship.
The second instruction set up a welfare provision to meet the basic needs of all immigrants who had yet to settle and make provision for themselves. It amounted to a 3.3% tax on all income to provide for people in immediate need of support - whether native or immigrant. There was a parallel requirement on businesses to allow a margin of inefficiency in order to provide for those who were disenfranchised.
All this provided a robust and generous welcome to immigrants in Israel, but Moses’ instruction goes even further. "The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the immigrant as yourself.”
This instruction to love immigrants as we love ourselves leaves no room for doubt in how we need to approach this controversial issue.
There is a natural fear of uncontrolled immigration which touches us all in one way or another, but God calls us to rise above it. All the people on this planet are loved by God, whoever they are and wherever they are. We must love them too.

No comments:

Post a Comment