We are all resident aliens

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.  I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:34)

These scriptures have taken on added meaning for us.  When we originally settled on the name for the Jubilee Food Pantry, our experiences with and heart for the poor was the deciding factor.  The biblical Jubilee (Leviticus 25) calls for us to interrupt our lives in order to live more justly with our marginalized brothers and sisters.  These are concepts that His Holy Spirit has been revealing to us over the past few years. 

The concept of the Jubilee presents us with truth that our lives must be “interrupted” by the Good News of the Gospel.   And that the Good News of the Gospel is only Good News for the poor if God’s hands and feet (me and you) act that Good News out in our daily lives.  So we set out to live it out.

But we had no idea that the concept of the Jubilee was going to become something more, something deeper in our lives.  The Leviticus passage references loving the “foreigner” dozens of times, and on several occasions gives us specific instructions on how to actually do it.  About 95% of the guests who come to the Jubilee Food Pantry are Latino, so it is clear that we have been given not only a mandate, but a calling to love the immigrant as ourselves.  As I have explained to several friends, if I understand the Kingdom of God correctly, I have more in common with my brothers and sisters from Mexico, or Iraq, or Burma who know Jesus, than my neighbor who does not.  

When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop.  Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you.  I am the LORD your God.  (Leviticus 23:22)

The Jubilee Community Garden has begun to take shape.  We now have one more tangible way to live out the above scriptures.  This Saturday we will have our first “work party” where we will work side-by-side with foreigners, ammending the soil to reap a harvest . . . together.  But they are not immigrants or foreigners or even pantry guests, they have become amigos, they are hermanos y hermanas en Cristo.  

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So little words….

This inability to fully communicate with many who come to our home has been hard, to say the least.  It is one of those “things” that we constantly run into.  However, we are seeing this as a benefit, not necessarily in this world but in the Kingdom.  Sometimes, more likely than not, He just wants us to shut up and smile.

When I am forced to do this, it is frustrating at first but then relieves me.  Even if I did have something so say, my lack of Spanish keeps me from it.  I am free to simply Love.  But that means I have to Trust that this Love is strong and powerful- and able.

There are so many things we would like to communicate to our guests through words and teaching (ha!) but I believe He really wants us to walk these things out instead, leading by example.  Maybe what He wants is for us to actually be His whole body.  I have found that I rely HEAVILY on my mouth to show love, when more often what He asks of us is to just act it out quietly.  I often find myself snickering at the thought of my flapping lips.

Throughout the Bible there are references to this idea….slow to speak (James 1:19), clanging cymbals and noisy gongs (1 Cor. 13), plain speech (Mt. 5:37), whispers (1 Kings 19:12), peace and quiet (Prov. 17:1).

Through this inability to communicate through words, God is blessing us with a gift.  He is using our hands, feet, faces, arms and family to speak Love over our guests.  It makes it impossible to say that I have anything to do with it other than making myself available.

He is showing us the power of His Love by helping us to release control.  Our faith in His ways are strengthening as we rely on very able Spirit that lives in us.  Praise Him!