“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
– Leviticus 19:33-34
The definition of a sojourn and sojourner
“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”
– Exodus 22:21
Let’s first define the above two terms which we find in today’s verse and other example verses.
The dictionary defines a sojourn as “a temporary stay; to stay for a time and a place; live temporarily.”
Wikipedia defines a sojourner as “a person who resides temporarily in a place.”
“Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”
– Deuteronomy 10:19
What the Bible says about the treatment of immigrants
“You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.”
– Leviticus 24:22
The Old Testament in the Holy Bible has several verses that command we give people equal treatment under the law, whether they are natives or foreigners.
In biblical times, part of the reason for the establishment of such laws was to prevent the stoning of accused blasphemers who might hold different religious beliefs. One example was when someone might be the offspring of an Egyptian father and an Israelite mother. This was to protect those caught in the middle from suffering harm.
“The same law shall apply to both the native and the foreigner who resides among you.”
– Exodus 12:49
The Evangelical Lutheran Church establishes itself as “Sanctuary Church Body”
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,”
– Matthew 25:35
Doing what Christians have been doing for 2,000 years, providing refuge and asylum for people fleeing injustice, The Evangelical Lutheran Church, which represents nearly 3.5 million American Christians, voted to establish itself as the nation’s first “sanctuary church body,” according to officials of the church. The new rules will apply to more than 9000 congregations. The church has provided guidelines to “help them explore and develop sanctuary ministries.”
Among the measures approved were:
- Providing shelter for undocumented immigrants, the ELCA could:
- Respond to raids, deportations and the “criminalization” of immigrants and refugees;
- Fight individual cases of deportation, press for the end of mass detentions and lift up immigrants’ voices;
- Take “prophetic action” to extend “radical hospitality” to immigrants and immigrant communities.
Jesus taught as to love one another:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:34-35