This weekend we'll move into our new home.
It's small and sits in a quiet, unassuming part of Nashville by the river. I love all the tall trees that grow up around our street and the deer family that's been there on the path every time I visit.
It's our first home, and in it we imagine what could be.
Walking around the empty rooms I can see dancing images of friends and family gathered around the table sharing food and breaking bread; I hear future little feet pounding on the oak wood floors; I imagine growing a garden and welcoming the world to our little plot of home.
Home is the fertile ground where families build a future.
So what do you do when you've been cast out of your home?
This week my heart has ached for the millions of Syrians who no longer have homes to return to. And as I pray for them, my heart feels the echo of their pain, helpless, unsheltered, wondering what their futures hold. I wonder why it's taken the voices of 7.6 million displaced Syrians for me to finally hear what they have to say.
While I plan what my living room will look like, I know there's a 26 year old Syrian woman who would be grateful for a plan of any sort.
We lose hope when we lose sight of our future. And while our eternal future has nothing to do with material things, how can I tell the world that Jesus loves them without offering a home to the homeless, help to the helpless, and food to the hungry?
It's been a beautiful thing to watch Germany open it's doors to 20,000 refugees in the past week. Thank you Germany, for extending love and humanity on behalf of the world. Now I want to do my part.
Church, now let's do our part.
Let's not look back on this world crisis and say that Jesus' people stayed silent. I don't want to build a home if it can't be a shelter for the weary.
Love is costly, and not everyone you love is going to deserve it. But we're called to be defined by love.
I look at the boxes of things packed to go.
There's nothing wrong with having a home and food. But I want to open my heart and my arms to the world knowing that nothing I've been given is mine to keep. We're only ever stewards of the things we're given.
In comparison to the 500,000 refugees Germany is projected to have sheltered by the end of the year, the United States has welcomed 1,400 in the past four years.
We can do better.
So this week as I plan to move into our new house, I'm also planning to open its doors. There's room here for the weary, there's room here for the weak. As I move my family into our home, I don't want to forget my brothers and sisters who need a home.
I want to invite you to join me and my house, as we pray and find ways to actively extend God's love for the helpless in our world. We're partnering with We Welcome Refugees because we want to extend love and compassion in Jesus' name.
There are things you can do, ways you can give. Sign a petition asking the leaders of our government to open our arms and say:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
You can sponsor a refugee family for their first few months as they start their lives over. If you have room, you can even host a family that's looking for jobs and a place to stay.
But let's be the ones that do something.
Let's not bury our talents in our perfectly manicured lawns and forget about the rest.
Let's be the ones who say we welcome refugees.