This week my ESOL class from the college came over to my house for dinner. There are 16 people in my class, from 9 different countries! They brought food, so we got to enjoy things like Peruvian potato-cheese sauce, Tai noodles, and Haitian baked chicken. Mmmmm...! I was so proud of the way they all engaged each other in English language conversations. There was a lot of joking and laughing, too, which made me believe they were comfortable and happy and felt welcomed and loved in our little Hobbit Hole.
As we sat around the dining room, our conversation turned to the topic of immigration - where did you come from? What was the process that you had to go through to get here? There was a variety of answers, all very interesting, and it was fun to learn more about their families and histories, and share ours with them. And as we recalled the steps that have led us here, I thought about how important it is for followers of Jesus to take time to remember spiritually where we have come from, and how we've been brought into life and freedom and redemption...
"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you..." - Deuteronomy 15:15
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air... All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." - Ephesians 2:1-4
"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." - 1 Corinthians 1:26-27
"When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 6:20-23