“for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.” vss. 7b-8
In the prophetic vision, Israel had been set aside by God to be a gift to all nations. One day the prophet believed the doors of exclusivity in the house of God would be thrown open and people from all over the world would be gathered in. Just as God had gathered the outcasts of Israel, bringing them home from Babylon, so in the future the outcasts from all the lands would be welcomed and included. We’ve seen that happen through the years, as the Church of Christ has made this vision a central part of the faith. Countless millions of people, refugees from injustice and bondage of every kind, have been welcomed into our congregations and our hearts, and all have been blessed by their presence. We should not expect that such a welcoming spirit will always be dominant among us. As has been seen in recent times, it’s always tempting to close the doors and change from being a house of prayer for all peoples to being a club of insiders. Suspicion and xenophobia are always at hand and often rear their ugly heads in times of stress and panic…and it touches us all, and is even present in our churches. However we might rationalize our actions, we know in our hearts that such exclusion is not the will of God.
Thought for the Day: What is xenophobia and where have I seen its presence?