My wife, Sesselja (“Sessy”), is half Icelandic. Through her I have formed some wonderful bonds with our family in the old country. Over the years, several of them have visited us. I love to pick up family members at BWI, especially on their first visit to America. I hug them at the baggage claim and then look them in the eyes and say “Welcome home.”
They usually think it’s a little weird, but they get it. This land is your land. By setting foot here a few minutes ago, you are now a fellow owner of the commonwealth. You just inherited America the way many of us 330 million did — by setting foot here.
Please sit down. I have some news that some of you might find shocking. Unless you have pure Native-American blood in your veins (or are African-American), you’re an immigrant. You may not be a newcomer, but your status is just a matter of degree. How can we shun our fellow newcomers? How can we deny people seeking a better life?
I noticed a young couple on a recent Sunday who appeared to be first-time visitors to our congregation. They looked a little out of place and unsure of themselves after the benediction. No one paid them much attention. It wasn’t intentional, but we were, nonetheless, denying people seeking a better life.
I used to struggle with what to say to newcomers on Sunday mornings. Then it occurred to me that they just inherited the commonwealth in the same way almost all of us 440 did. They set foot here. So now I look them in the eyes and say “Welcome home.” They think it’s a little weird, but they get it.
Yours in Faith,