Attention pastors: The Office of Social Justice invites you to participate in an immigration preaching challenge! Preaching about immigration is a way we can respond to God’s call to be truth tellers, to make the gospel relevant to our context today, and to be aware of the burdens that the body of Christ is bearing in our midst. Have you ever talked about immigration from the pulpit? We encourage you to participate in the Immigration Preaching Challenge.
The theme of immigration is woven throughout the biblical narrative. However, only 16 percent of evangelicals have ever heard about immigration in church. As a result, fewer than 10 percent report that they think about immigration primarily from the perspective of their faith. Your congregation is hearing about immigration from many places, but they need most to hear about it from you.
So where does immigration appear in the Bible?
- Immigrants appear throughout Scripture:
- Abraham left his homeland for the land God would show him, promising to bless him and all other peoples through him.
- Joseph was a victim of human trafficking, sold as a slave.
- Naomi was forced to flee her homeland because of famine, and Ruth returned with her when God provided food again.
- Mary and Joseph brought their baby, Jesus, across several borders to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderous intentions.
- Immigrants are created in God’s image.
- God tells the people of Israel, time and time again, to “welcome the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt
- Hospitality, particularly to the stranger, is a theme in both the Old and New Testaments, and it’s a central theme of Jesus’ ministry. The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia, meaning “love of the other.”
- The treatment of immigrants in our midst is a relevant application for numerous biblical themes--stewardship, grace, biblical justice, evangelism, fellowship, unity, hospitality, the role of government, reconciliation, power, sin.
Still, immigrants find themselves on the margins. Society projects its struggles onto new immigrants. Xenophobia, stigma, and myth tend to color the reception of newcomers. A quick study of the history of U.S. immigration policy reveals that misinformation has resulted in harmful immigration laws that are not based on reality. The majority of new immigrants are Christians, and when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.
Take the challenge! Visit the Do Justice blog to learn more about the contest, access important immigration resources, and learn how you can incorporate immigration into your preaching.