" . . . your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . "
The Civil War in Syria is still raging, and when I take the time to sit in the brokenness of it, my heart breaks and aches for the families - the families stuck in Allepo, huddled together in the dark, wondering if and when morning will ever come; the families on a raft, drifting in open water, praying to make it to anywhere better than from where they came; the families stuck in refugee camps in foreign lands, waiting in endless lines, grounded by paperwork. In tune with my musings last fall, I've recently been staring at the words imprinted on the Statue of Liberty. Have you ever read them - or the entire poem from which they come? The poem is "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
Those sound a lot like Jesus's words to me. (Matthew 11:28) "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
(Micah 6:8) "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?"
Might my country remember its heritage and the church remember its mission in this world. May we welcome refugees into our country, communities, neighborhoods, and homes - these "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.