There are two things we love about the Lady Liberty: her obviously Oscar-worthy cameo performance in the classic film “Ghostbusters 2”, and the incredible poem found engraved in bronze in the lower level of the statue’s pedestal.
Entitled “the New Colossus”, the poem calls her “the Mother of Exiles”, whose “beacon-hand glows worldwide welcome”. The closing lines of the sonnet are what really blow us away however:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Doesn’t that just sound like Jesus?
Isn’t that an echo of the message of the cross, where Jesus opened wide the arms of grace and flung wide the gates of His kingdom?
Vagabonds, wanderers, refugees, outcasts and rebels of all kinds are invited - “whosoever believes in Him” - because there is no border control for the greatest kingdom of all and there are no outsiders to the love of God.
We all meet Jesus as beggars knocking on a stranger’s door, seeking mercy, asylum, refuge. And He never slams the door in our face, but rather beckons us near.
Yet it’s so easy for us to forget where we came from, that we were once “foreigners...without hope and without God”. The sad truth is that so many sections of society feel like the church has done just the opposite of Christ, slamming the door and and keeping them at a distance from the Good News of the gospel.
We must follow our Father’s example and be a source of refuge to the outsiders in this world. That could mean ministering to literal refugee communities in your area, spending some time with the homeless guy you usually drive past on the way to work, or just simply being being inclusive to those who feel like outsiders to the love of God, to religion and to the church . When we become a safe space for the vulnerable we reflect the heart of Christ, our refuge.
After all, if a lifeless statue can be a symbol of hope to the world, how much more so should the living, breathing body of Christ?
May we be the church we are called to be and let the gospel “glow worldwide welcome” in the darkness.
This last weekend we released the live version of our song No Outsiders which was written with all this in mind. We hope you’ll watch and worship along with us!
- Rend Collective