Summary: Jesus was a refugee - we need to welcome the refugee
Advent/Christmas 2009 Epiphany Sunday, January 3, 2010
Our Refugee God - Matthew 2:13-18
Begin with Hushidah’s story and Maria’s.
Hushidah Bagam is 20. For two years now, she has lived in a squalid bamboo and corrugated iron hut in a Bangladesh refugee camp. But what she left behind in neighbouring Myanmar (formerly called Burma) was worse.
“The soldiers came to our village In the middle of the night, firing their guns. The men started to run away. They were afraid of being conscripted for hard labour. This always happens when the soldiers come ‘Three soldiers barged Into our house. They ordered everyone out except me. And then they took turns with me. I do not know how long they stayed, because I fell unconscious after a while. They took with them all our possessions. My family decided to leave. My father was afraid my other sisters would also be raped. Three months earlier, they had killed my husband.”
Maria, a refugee from a different part of the world, was roughly the same age as Hushidah when she also had to flee a step ahead of soldiers.
“My husband woke me in the middle of the night. He told me we had to leave right away. He had a warning that soldiers were coming. We could take only what we could carry. I wrapped the baby to keep him warm. We walked for days. Later, we heard what the soldiers did: they killed all the boy babies in our village. Where we live now, the food and the language are strange. My baby is growing up without knowing his home country. Built isn’t safe to go back, not yet.”
Does Maria’s story sound familiar? It ought to. Read Matthew 2:13-18.
Source: Hushidah’s story is abridged from “Afraid to Go Home,’ Refugees. July 1992. Published by the Office of the UNHCR.
Epiphany – remember Jesus presentation at the Temple, His Baptism, or the coming of the Wisemen – “Three King’s Day” in D.R.
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children