"Feeling’ my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart. I can’t tell where the journey will end, but I know where to start…all this time I was findin’ myself and I didn’t know I was lost.” — Avicii
“We three Kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we’ve traversed so far.”
I met a man the other day who introduced himself to me in a thick African accent. He said, “Hello, my name is Michael, and I am a missionary to America.” He went on to explain to me that he had come from Africa to America to reach out to immigrant communities with the gospel. As we spoke together, he confided in me that he doesn’t understand the American church’s complacency (and even some vitriol) concerning the stranger.
I forgot the conversation, to be honest. Until I was taking some time to read the Christmas story, and came across the Wise Men from the East. Then for some reason my heart turned to Michael.
What if we are the ones who are a bit lost and stranded right now, and some of these people from the East can bring some “wise love” to our churches in America?
What if our American attempts at security, safety, identity, and control are actually thwarting the plans of God in our individual lives and in our country?
What if the refugee families coming through our doors — 45% of whom last year were from a Christian faith background, many of them coming due to martyr-like persecution in their home countries — what if they have much wisdom to give us here in our secure lives?
It seems as if each generation, the Church has an opportunity to respond to a crisis. Sometimes we step up. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we recognize the chance the Divine is giving us — as the apostles did. Sometimes we bow to fear as Herod did. What will be the choice for this generation, our American church of the early 21st Century?