Saturday, 16 June 2018
Like a Stranger in a Foreign Country
A picture in the Edinburgh Evening News just now got me thinking. Yes I know this is hard to understand but it is true.
The photo featured a Sikh giving a prize to a youngster for some reason and this brought to mind all the 'Daily Mail' wingers grumbling that their country 'was not what it once was' and 'foreigners rule us now.' This of course the main reason for voting for the disaster of Brexit!
It appeared to me in that photo that the Edinburgh I knew and grew up in has long gone. This is indeed the case, it is over forty years since I lived there and even if no 'foreign Johnny' had arrived since then the place would no longer be the city I knew. In many ways this would be good, in others it is a disaster, but change happens everywhere constantly and we have been part of this. Sometimes we are urging change and ignoring those grumbling against change, then we are the 'Keep it as it was' school objecting to anything that means 'new.'
Sadly I thought I cannot grumble about such things. The Christian must view the world as a temporary dwelling, not a permanent home therefore the world we wish to keep must be jettisoned because holding on to that is a form of idolatry. We seek 'our' world, the safe happy place in which we are content, forgetting that Jesus died because that world was as corrupt as all other parts of the world, and we enjoyed some of that corruption but excusing it as 'part of our culture.'
Our culture must now be Gods culture not the worlds. Scots culture was about the best in the world, if you ignore football violence, sectarian behaviour and drunkenness that is. Christians can no longer be part of the 'best culture in the world' as it is not actually the 'best thing for the world,' only Jesus is.
The point somewhere in my muddled mind is that I can easily object to Edinburgh being filled with Sikhs or Muslims, Hindus or any other kind but in the end I can only deal with 'people' not 'types of people.' My Edinburgh was only in my head, my personal experience, and while I can give thanks for being brought up in such a good environment I ought to be living in a better world, the one Jesus offers not the world in my mind. Edinburgh of course has always had invaders arriving. The Sikhs have been there for almost a hundred years, many come via the Port of Leith for business or diplomatic reasons or to attend the university or Medical School so incomers are not new in Auld Reekie.
The Old Testament has much to say about welcoming strangers whether they live amongst you or are just passing through, Middle Eastern hospitality demands a favourable response ought we to do anything else? Some Christians however have failed in this many joining UKIP and such parties, in an attempt to stop the nation they know becoming a different nation, the 'It is not my country any more' attitude. They are right, it has never been their country it has always belonged to God and he gives it to whoever he will. The Christian must live in a tent like a nomad he has no permanent home on this earth. The world in which he lives can never be 'his country' and always be what he wishes it to be, it will never be what he wants anyway lets face it, life is constantly disappointing us, life will never be what we wish it to be.
Of course I am a foreigner is a strange land...