Tuesday, May 23, 2006
GREEN CARD by Keith Giles
(this article is now online at www.ginkworld.net)
Recently, I read an article where someone suggested that Churches should issue green cards to converts who are baptized in order to remind them that they are resident aliens in this World.
Jesus agreed with this idea of Christians as immigrants when he said, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it."
(John 17: 15-16)
We are not of the world, any more than Jesus was of it. So, why do we continue to live our lives as if this were our home?
Beyond the implications of what this verse suggests about our materialism, or our pursuit of fame, money or position, I am wondering about what this verse might mean in terms of our identity.
I am especially curious about how we fail to see ourselves in the plight of the current immigration reform debate that is currently raging in our own Nation. We are more like these resident aliens living here among us in the United States than we realize. So, why are we not out there marching alongside them, asking for them to be treated fairly and seen as worthy human beings who deserve the same chances we've been given?
Even if we weren't especially called to skip work and carry a sign in the park alongside the activists, what about simply praying for them? What about defending their position to those we call our friends? What about taking the time to identify with these fellow outcasts and unwanted immigrants?
Jesus told us, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:19).
This verse is especially troubling to me. It makes me ask myself, "Does the World hate me?" or even worse, "Do I hate the World?" Now, I don't mean "hate" in the sense that I should hate other people, but do I hate the system, the consumerism, the focus on the flesh rather than the spiritual?
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4)
Do I love what God hates? Do I hate what He loves?
We, as followers of Jesus, should be comfortable among the the ranks of the misunderstood, the hated, the outcasts and the despised. We should go out of our way to embrace those who are, like us, always in the world but never of the world. That means the poor, the prostitutes, the unpopular, the prisoners, and yes, even the undocumented immigrant.
Welcome to the church. Do you have your Green Card?