Daily Reflection
July 3rd, 2002
Eileen Wirth
Journalism Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Feast of St. Thomas, apostle
Ephesians 2:19-22
Psalm 117:1, 2
John 20:24-29

“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.”
This passage is so appropriate on the eve of the Fourth of July.  It provokes reflection about what it means to be human, Christian and American. 

The same St. Paul who told us that in Christ there is “no male or female” or Greek or Jew, speaks here to the universality of God’s kingdom.  Similarly the Fourth of July should evoke images of the Statue of Liberty and welcome to refugees and immigrants.  Both true Christians and true Americans should develop a vision of universal love and outreach. 

This is contrary to those who picture a God who loves only people like themselves and an America only for Americans like themselves.  I can’t imagine loving either such a God or such a country.

The God I worship welcomes all women and men of whatever background who seek to know, love and serve.  The United States I pledge allegiance to is not just a very rich, and powerful country but a land where oppressed people of all faiths, races and nationalities find new life.

Our citizenships in both the Communion of Saints and the U.S. suggest the same opportunities and obligations: 

• To understand, as St. Paul says, that we are “members of the household of God” along with “strangers and sojourners” different than ourselves.
• To reach out to welcome those “strangers and sojourners” not in any condescending fashion but because we are “brothers and sisters.”
The opportunities to do this have never been more abundant.  Almost any church, school, literacy council, social agency, etc., can connect volunteers with rewarding ways to assist newcomers.  Such calls will be life-changing/life-enhancing. 

In the mid-70s, my husband and I sponsored a Cambodian refugee family; this led to years of intense volunteer work with refugees and helping local churches sponsor refugees.  The payoff in new friends, a deeper faith and enhanced love of country continues to this day. 

So on this Fourth of July, think not only of the blessings of our country but of the Communion of Saints and how we are linked with people very different from ourselves through God’s profound love for all of us.  Remember that the “strangers and sojourners” are “fellow citizens” and “members of the household of God.” 

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