Persona non grata

An unwelcome person.  There has been a lot of buzz around the world about uniting for humanity.  Yet running parallel to these cries are those people we treat as unwlecome in our midst – non-human.

Maybe you have been in this position yourself?  A victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse; a recipient of social security payments whose individual situation is lost amid the criteria of the system.

Or perhaps you were one of the Kurds before the beginning of the Syrian war?  Loosing your citizenship,  land and the right to give your child a Kurdish name.

Before we act with outrage and innocence, it happens everywhere.  In the past Maori people in NZ  could not vote, lost their land and were beaten for speaking Te Reo.

There is one certainty about treating a human being as a persona non grata.  The results aren’t great.  For the person.  And for the society they live in.  Now and in the future.

Unwelcome for too long  – abuse and labels, fustration and anger, and suffering.  And violence.

It is this aspect of humanity, ironically, ISIS or Daesh or…, take advantage of.  Whether its civil war in Syria or Iraq or Mali.  Or whether it is trying to re-inforce discord between peoples in Lebanon or Paris.  They take advantage of the vacuum of power during unrest or use peoples existing feelings of anomosity to their own end.

While the infiltration of terrorists poses a real threat, and the temptation to protect oneself at the expense of others is natural.  So much greater is the threat when we start to see others as less than human for we become and create what we despise.

Remember many didn’t welcome Jesus either.

Jesus knew His identity was best seen through God’s  eyes  not mans.  Because  He  knew  what was in the heart of  men.  Yet  still He valued  us so much  He  was willing to love us unto death.

With this came a powerful but hard message ‘forgive and love ones enemies’, refuse to treat humans as persona non grata -even the guilty.

Even until  we can mourn the suicide bombers  of Lebanon and Paris as human too; overtaken by the evil in our world.

God the one who loves  me, give me the knowledge of  the  depths of your mercy so I  may be able to receive it and offer it to others.   Forgive me where I have  been guilty of treating  another as less than  a person.

And at this time Father bestow on  your  people wisdom from above, for we do not war against flesh and blood but  the  powers and  principalities  of evil in the spiritual realm.

“3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. “(Galatians 1:3-5)

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Tell Me The Old Old Story of Jesus and His Love

Far far away in a little corner of the world a group of families in 2014 came to learn the Christmas message…….

Many years ago there were others waiting for Christmas just like we do. “Can you think of who might have been waiting?”

Hand up, “Mr Claus?”

“Mr Claus” came afterwards, what about even before he was around?

Hand up, “Mrs Claus?”

“Okay, I will give a small clue, how about some animals that were around then…”

Hand up, “Reindeer?”

“Hmmmm…umm…(help) … let me introduce you first to the donkey….”

Aside from a few open mouthed Grandparents, how is it many of our younger children have lost the person and story of Jesus?  Or perhaps even God?

A later event with a school class started with a child walking into a church hall and one child announcing, “Where is God?”

It is a near new experience for those of us growing up in a country where knowledge about the birth and life of Jesus, although not fully embraced, used to be a given.

Now this Christmas it serves as prompt to make our top priority telling the next generations of ‘Jesus and His Love’ least our grandchildren, neices, newphews, great grandchildren do not hear about the Saviour who came at Christmas for all mankind.

It may require courage to speak and point out what in society is fast becoming a little known fact; to be self-conscious in front of others; and to risk.  But if we don’t?

Lets tell them St Nicholas (Father Christmas, Santa) was indeed a real person who gave gifts to others; but it was the Christ-child at whose feet he knelt.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14