Thursday, September 03, 2015

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob spotted at Calais

"one can categorise Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the terms used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Abraham begins as a voluntary migrant, but then lives in Egypt as an environmentally induced, externally displaced person.

Isaac is born to immigrant parents, and he subsequently becomes an environmentally induced, internally displaced person. 

Finally, Jacob is a third generation migrant who involuntarily migrates to seek asylum for fear of physical harm. Jacob does eventually repatriate by choice, but he lives out the remainder of his life as an immigrant.

It is no stretch to say that migration and the experience of being an immigrant among foreign groups forms these patriarchs’ identity and is, in this way, inscribed into the very foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam." (Casey Strine 'The Old Testament as a Resource for thinking about Migration')

So when God introduces himself to Moses as 'The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob' in Exodus chapter 3, God is introducing himself as the God of 3 generations of immigrants. He does this to a man who himself is an asylum seeker, to call him to lead a mass migration across the Middle East. And that's before we even get to Jesus and Paul.

Lots more food for thought at the very timely 'Migration' special of The Bible in Transmission, a journal produced by the Bible Society.

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