Can you imagine what it must be like for aliens on Independence Day? (Aliens as in foreigners living in this country, not E.T. & Company)
I remember special days in Argentina. I was happy for those who celebrated around me, and I enjoyed the special foods that always accompanied those celebrations. There were school pageants to attend, and my kids took their place along with their other Argentine friends. I tried to learn about the celebrations and tried to enjoy them, even if they weren’t mine.
Civic holidays tend to be a bit more “in your face” in the United States. They especially find a place in churches in a way that I don’t see in other countries. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing red, white and blue.
So can you imagine how it feels for a foreigner? Can you imagine participating in the celebrations only to a point, recognizing that, while you benefit from the existence of this country, you’re not fully a part of it?
I’m hoping that you can imagine it quite well. For we are the foreigners, the strangers, the aliens…
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:11–12)
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.” (Psalms 39:12)
“I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.” (Psalms 119:19)
“We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.” (1 Chronicles 29:15)
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13–16)
“Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3:19–20)