Lately the United States and much of the world has been wrestling with the question, "Who belongs within our borders?" While the old term "illegal alien" has become "illegal immigrant," the term still means the same thing: those who don't belong.
In this psalm from Isaiah, notice who does belong: the poor, the needy, those caught in storms. The aliens are the strong, the wealthy and the ruthless. Who truly belongs in the land of the LORD? Those who admit their need and turn to the LORD for assistance. This entire planet is, of course, the property of the creator. We are simply God's houseguests.
As we are pushed to differentiate between citizens and aliens, let us not forget that, except for the blood of Jesus Christ, we would forever be aliens to God. We don't belong in God's house, yet we have been invited through Jesus' tremendous sacrifice.
Lord God, as guests in your home through the invitation of Jesus, teach us how to welcome outsiders like you do. Show us how to keep your door open until nobody is an alien anymore. Amen.
Isaiah 25:1-9 (NRSV)
1 O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2 For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4 For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
5 the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.