As the August recess ends, so does the chance to meet with Representatives in their districts before they return to Washington D.C. So how can you mobilize locally on immigration? Regardless of the details of any legislation passed or the time it takes to pass and be enacted, immigration is going to stay on our national radar and continue to incite strong feelings and rhetoric. Reforming the system may take months, but reforming our hearts to care about the "stranger in our gates" may take much longer. Start now. Help your church community think about immigration from the perspective of our primary identity--as people of God.
The "I Was a Stranger" Challenge is simple: read 40 passages of Scripture for 40 days that address in some way God's concern for immigrants and foreigners. Pray over your reading each day, and allow the Spirit to illuminate your heart. Ask your church to do the same, and then talk about what you learn. Some people may be surprised by how frequently immigrants and foreigners enter into the biblical narrative. Some people may be surprised by the laws God gave his people to protect the strangers in their gates. But most importantly, reading and praying about God's concern for immigrants challenges our own feelings and language.
The Office of Social Justice provides the "I Was A Stranger" bookmark free of charge. Order for yourself, your family, your church, or even your legislators, and be part of the movement to think about immigration as people of faith.
[Photo: flickr user Elvert Barnes]