Just two weeks ago, my husband and I had the delightful opportunity to spend two days hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Trudging uphill, our sea-level lungs reminded us that we weren’t at home. Our eyes focused on the path before us to avoid stumbles over stones and roots or slips in the still present snow. Our muscles burned with the unaccustomed exertion. And then we reached the summit, or the lake, or the waterfall that was our goal. Our eyes would rise to the view before us and our hearts would sing at the beauty of the world God has made. High in the alpine tundra, we followed an ancient footpath forged by the native Ute people as they traversed from summer to winter hunting grounds carrying with them all they possessed, and we were reminded that we, like them, are on a journey. We, too, are travelers, eyes fixed on the path ahead yet sometimes rising to the glorious view of a more beautiful place that awaits us.
Wide Open World (WOW), our global outreach program for children, begins next Sunday evening, June 3, with a three-fold goal. We seek first to remind our children of their identity as sojourners. This world is not our home. Like Abraham, we acknowledge that we are “strangers and exiles on the earth,” and like him, we seek “a better country, a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:13-16) This view of ourselves informs our interactions with the people we meet each day. Exodus 23:9 instructs, “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” We, of all people, should nurture a heart of compassion for the lonely, the isolated, the powerless and oppressed, the homeless and weak, and the foreigner, who is often all these things at once.
So, we will seek, secondly, to grow in our identification with the sojourner. We will meet with partners here in the Philadelphia area who work with those from the nations of the world who are living in our midst. We will partner with the Ks in Greece whose work brings them into daily contact with refugees. We will learn from Maranatha teenagers as they run day camps among local and immigrant children. We will hear from Nada Ghattas and Roz McKelvey about their life and work in the deaf community. We will read about those who are not like us, and yet who at the same time are very much like us. We will pray for the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the isolated, the powerless, the sick, and the marginalized.
And then, finally, we will seek to support those who are on the front lines in global work, those who have left family and friends, homes, and land for the sake of the gospel. They live in places that are home and yet not quite home. Their children grow up between cultures with amazing and unique opportunities and yet with transition and loss as daily realities. In WOW, this summer, we will pray for our global partners. We will pray for their children. We will seek to know them better and to encourage them as they encourage us in the Lord.
Won’t you join us? As you travel this summer, remind yourself of your spiritual status as a sojourner. Let that inform your reading and your listening. Choose books and podcasts which broaden your global perspective. Learn about the experience of immigrants and refugees around the world and here in our city. Consider how you may support and encourage them in Christ’s name and for his sake. Pray for our global partners. Pray for their work. Pray for their children. And finally, pray for WOW. Ask that Tenth’s children will grow in love for Christ and in love for the world. Consider volunteering with us on Sunday evenings or just stop by to hear about where and how God is at work. Consider financially supporting our WOW Passport project. For more information or opportunities to become involved, contact us. Let’s travel together!
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Karen Walton. ©2019 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org