For thus says the Lord:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
“Save, O Lord, your people,
the remnant of Israel.”
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn. ~ Jeremiah 31:7-9
Have you ever longed for home? I mean, really longed for it.
Not a mild case of homesickness, as if you're gone for a short trip and will be back soon. Not even homesickness of being away at camp for the first time. Or going away to college.
But bone-deep, longing. Missing home so strongly because you worry that you just might not see it again, or even that you know you won't see it again.
It's that kind of longing that the Israelites have after they had been dispersed and banished from their homeland.
Sometimes the home longed for is one never seen. This is the home longed for by refugees all over the world who have been driven out of their countries by terror and violence.
The home they long for is one of safety and peace: a home not yet realized without the assistance of those already there.
The God of scripture - both Old Testament and New - is a God of the refugee and the homeless. Our God is one who finds joy in making a home for those who need it; a God who protects when fear or violence force one away from home.
A God who calls us as well to help make a home for those who need a place to lie down at night in peace and safety.
I invite you to check out the websites for Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services (https://www.lirs.org/) or Lutheran Settlement House (https://www.lutheransettlement.org/janeaddamsplace/) to see if there is a way you can help make a home for someone who needs one.
Open my heart and hands to those who need my help in making a home. Amen