Summary: In this passage, Paul talks about how we used to be refugees - aliens, without citizenship and cut off from the promises of God. Then through Christ, God destroyed the barrier of sin that made us refugees and those who follow Jesus now have citizenship a
Last year, we travelled back to Australia via the USA. We had a couple of days in southern California, so we decided that we would hop down to the Mexican border and pop over into Mexico for a few hours to see what it was like. I found a town on the map called Tecate a city of about 60,000 people which was right on the border literally, right on the border. So we decided to go there. We parked our hire car on the USA side as the insurance was void in Mexico and walked across the border.
You know, in Australia, when we travel abroad, we have to hop on a plane and travel for hours. That time while we fly sort of prepares us for the different culture and living conditions we encounter when we touch down. But this crossing from the USA to Mexico we did on foot. One minute we were in the United States of America the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth, probably in history, which despite the recession was bristling with affluence. A few steps later and we were in Mexico, a third world country, rife with poverty, violence and corruption. Talk about culture shock. We wandered around for a few hours, even accidently attending a funeral guarded by armed civilian militia. When I say armed, Im talking about machine guns.
But one of the most striking things we saw was this: this fence. This wall. Do you know what it is? This wall this barrier is the US Mexico border. Why is it there? Is it there to stop Americans from going to Mexico? No. It is there to stop Mexicans from going to America. The Americans are busy building and lengthening their physical barrier with Mexico to stop Mexicans from entering the United States.
There are other barriers in the world. Fences. Walls. Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the Cold War it stood in the middle of a big, busy city, separating one half from the other. It was the same city but it was not possible to visit the other side. Its purpose was to stop people in the East going to the West. There are other walls. At the moment, the Israelis are busy building a wall to stop Palestinians from entering Israel. In Australia, we dont have any fences to stop people but we have the Indian Ocean, patrolled by the CoastWatch and whenever anyone tries to cross it to enter Australia we do our best to stop them.
People are trying to get from one place to another. People are trying to get from Mexico to the US. In the Cold War, they tried to get from Eastern Europe to the West. Today, people are trying to get from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and other countries to Australia. Even when I lived in Central Asia, locals often asked me how to get a visa for the US!
Why? Why do people want to move from one nation to another? Think about the hardest cases. Think about Afghans refugees wanting to come here. Why do they risk their lives, with people smuggling sharks, leaky boats, spend all their savings, and then potentially spend years at refugee camps on Nauru, Christmas Island, or at Woomera. Why would they do that?
Its because they want what weve got. Think about it. An Afghan is probably illiterate, has no education, and theres no possibly of educating his kids. In Australia, there is free education for our children and even university is heavily subsidised. In Afghanistan he lives in grinding poverty, there is a lack of jobs. In Australia, there are lots of well paying jobs and even if he cant find a job, there is always social security. In Afghanistan, there is poor or no health care. In Australia, there is Medicare and free public hospitals with health care second to none in the world. In Afghanistan there is war and conflict and the Taliban. In Australia there is peace and security.
Going back the US Mexican situation. In the US, Mexico is right next door. Just metres separate the rich, ordered, peaceful United States from the poverty, chaos, conflict of Mexico. A barrier has to be put in place to stop the Mexicans from crossing the border. In Australia we have an ocean to stop the Afghans which we protect with planes, ships and detention centres..
And even if a Mexican does manage to cross into the US, or an Afghan into Australia, they are still illegal immigrants. They dont enjoy the same rights as citizens. They dont have access to health care, to education, to employment rights or welfare. They live in constant threat of deportation.