Seamus O’Regan is an MP for St. John's South, Mount Pearl. On St. Patrick’s Day of this year he made some statements about refugees in Canada. Now, whatever I may think of Seamus O’Regan, and I would not agree with everything he says, here, I think he makes a good point. He reminded us that in and around the year 1847, “One-hundred thousand destitute Irish immigrants, 'leaving a devastating famine behind them, fleeing terror and persecution,' arrived at a time when the Dominion of Canada numbered just 1.5 million, O’Regan noted.”
“Some 38,000 Irish passed through Toronto in 1847. Toronto then, was a city of only 20,000 people.
[We do well to remember] that in 1847, there were enough, just enough Canadians who rose above the frank, blatant, decades-long discrimination of the day, and gave those immigrants a chance to become Canadians themselves.” It is hard for us to comprehend this, but in 1847, the Irish were viewed much like Muslims in our day. People were suspicious and scared of them and did not want them in their country.
By the world’s standards, it is foolishness to welcome 100,000 people into a country of 1.5 million people. It is foolishness to welcome 38,000 people into a city of 20,000 people. But, by God’s economy and God's wisdom, we are to welcome the stranger, the alien, the homeless. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 says,
“For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
When we read the Bible with God’s wisdom, when we read it as story that reveals God, rather than a rule book, we develop a relationship with the God of the Bible. It is not easy to read our Bibles like this. It is much easier to try to turn our Bible’s into rule books; but God calls us to something greater. We need constantly to read the Bible seeking to understand the heart of God. We need daily to ask God to be our wisdom as we read his word.
Daily, we need to pray,
“Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one."