Remember Where You Came From

Remember Where You Came From

Remember Where You Came From

Deuteronomy 10:12-19 

“Don’t forget where you came from.”  It is a phrase you might hear from the friends or coach of a star basketball player in a movie when the player gets chosen to go to a top college and is leaving his poverty-stricken neighborhood.  It is what a dad or friend might say to a rising country singer getting a record album and leaving a small, rural hometown behind.  The idea is that the characters are being asked to remember the people they are leaving.  They are being asked not to forget their roots and even though they may be making it big and getting rich, they weren’t always that way so maybe they will be more likely to come back and lend some aid to those in need.

We see this same attitude in real life with sports stars especially.  There are many examples of sports stars who go back to their old neighborhoods to do camps with youth or to help fund special projects like after school programs or community centers.  Last summer, LeBron James, considered by many to be the best basketball player in world, went back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio to help celebrate the opening of a new school that he helped to build with funding from his foundation. The school will focus especially on at-risk youth and their parents to help give them the tools they need to be successful.  LeBron hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures in the Bible, Moses and the prophets speak for God and consistently remind the people not to forget where they come from.  In our First Reading from Exodus we will hear Moses tell the people of Israel, “Remember your agreement with the Lord… The Lord defends the rights of orphans and widows. He cares for foreigners and gives them food and clothing.  And you should also care for them, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” In other words, “Don’t forget where you come from—don’t forget that you were aliens and immigrants enslaved in the foreign land so that you might treat the aliens and immigrants in your midst with care because you understand what they are going through.”

One of the things I find so ironic in discussions around the topic of immigration in America is that we so quickly forget that all of us have ancestors in our families who were at one time immigrants. What if we took a moment to remember this?  How would that shape our view of the issue of immigration?  Would we seek to have a deeper understanding of what drives people to immigrate?  Would we seek to respond with a little more care and concern rather than anger and disdain?

-Pastor Erik Goehner