This summer, North American pastors received an invitation to submit sermons related to the topic of immigration. Many pastors accepted the challenge and submitted their sermons, and we have now chosen nine finalists!
Our panel of judges is currently reviewing the sermons and will announce the winner soon. Stay tuned for our announcement of the winner!
Though immigration may seem like a far-off topic to some congregations, immigrants are a group of people that is close to God's heart. Time and time again the people of Israel are reminded to welcome the stranger, to not oppress the foreigner, to treat the immigrant as they treat the native-born (sample verses: Deut. 10:19, Romans. 12:13, Zechariah 7:10). The way that the church speaks about immigrants reflects our own relationship with God. Mistreating the foreigner is evidence of a relationship with God that has gone wrong. (Malachi 3:5); but welcoming the stranger is a way to welcome Christ himself (Matt. 25). This isn’t just about being polite to immigrants that you meet. While there is a place for the Church to work quietly with her hands, there is also a powerful call throughout scripture for the Church to be a public voice that defends groups who are being oppressed.
The CRC is blessed with immigrant pastors and members who stand strong and consistently speak up for more welcoming attitudes. These individuals are leading the church and breaking down stereotypes and myths about immigrants. They are helping brothers and sisters talk about immigration while reflecting the heart of God for the ger (stranger) and philoxenia (hospitality, the Greek word for "love of the stranger"). They preach regularly on this topic from the pulpit, in gentle conversations, and with their actions because they know that when one part of the body suffers every part suffers. There is space for more preachers to follow their lead. Yes, people are hurting but the church’s actions, especially when combined with words of truth from all her congregations, can bring about transformation.
Below are the sermons preached by the nine finalists. Give them a read!
If you feel encouraged to preach your own sermon on immigration, you can read our initial challenge to pastors here for more resources and places to start.
More resources and examples can be also found at:
[Image: Photo of RCA/ CRC pastor trip to the border to learn about immigration and explore how their churches will respond. Christy Berghoef]