Some friends occasionally invite me to lead their Sunday School class. Today is the fourth of five classes scheduled for 2022. Some of these dear souls are 15-20 years my senior, so I approach these engagements with respect, admiration and tenderness. It’s a relationship that began 31 years ago and I continue to marvel at the depth of their intellect and faith.
I’ve been pondering the importance of boundaries, or borders, in our lives. Jacob’s memorable dream at Bethel featured angels descending a ladder, or stairway, promising him land and progeny. Much of the ensuing Hebrew story was about the settlement of that land and their return there after a time of slavery in Egypt and, centuries later, after a time of exile in Babylon. Borders are important.
My Tennessee aunt receives mail at our house, including a card from a candidate for the state legislature. The first of his three promises was to “always vote to preserve legislation that protects our state and national borders.” I understand national border integrity, but I’m trying to find out if there’s a problem with one or more of the 8 states that Tennessee borders. I’ll let you know what I learn.
Borders are important, but some things transcend borders. Leviticus 19:33-34 captures a biblical theme that will be the launchpad for our class conversation today: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 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.