Matt Steel's Commentary
Give me your Tired
I was recently watching a PBS show Faces of America, and while it was unfortunate that the presenter is quite intollerent anglo-americans, none the less the show caused me to remember my own immigration story and the tremendous blessing it is for us to live here in the United States of America.
We are all familiar I think with the Poem the New Colossus. We have learned the beautiful words that where once crafted by a grateful immigrant. Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Now I am not familiar with the beliefs of Emma Lazarus, the author of this great poem. But I can see the universal truth embedded in this moving piece that all men and women yearn to be free. And that this yearning for freedom will motivate a human being to surmount incredible difficulties and challenges to bring himself and his loved ones to freedom. There have been very few places on earth in the history of human civilization that have been bastions of freedom, that have been places of refuge for all men to flee to if they were able. England in its time was such a place, it was that first Island refuge to the west that all oppressed people of Europe fled to if they had opportunity. And then of course there was and still is America a country of incredible freedom and opportunity, and as a result wealth. The immigration difficulties that we have here in the USA should not come as any surprise, because we are still that city set on a hill, a light to the nations.
However no matter how much we appreciate the blessing of living in the United States we should never make the mistake of thinking that we are doing anything more than borrowing this concept and system of personal freedom under just and equal laws. And as such we are quite capable of loosing this system and losing the blessings that come from this borrowed system of freedom.
So were did this system of freedom come from? It is not a man made condition because all man made systems and ways of living have always failed. This living way of freedom is from our creator, the divine power that our forefathers entrusted their fledgling republic to in those word changing days in 1776.
One of the scriptures that comes to mind that shows the origin of our concept of freedom is found in Matthew 11:25?30.
"25 At that time Jesus answered and said, ?I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.?
In this passage I can hear the foundation of the new colossus, give me your tired, your poor - Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden. Come unto me all you who are enslaved, in bondage and I will give you - Rest; I will give you freedom.
We are free in Christ regardless of our physical condition, even if we are in the coldest darkest cell in the most oppressive place on the earth Jesus Christ is our place of refuge. And that new Jerusalem that Heavenly city is that true city on a hill and a light to nations. May God give us the blessing of always living in freedom and the grace to appreciate and share it with all men.