If you’ve ever seen the movie “Alien”, you remember the claustrophobic intensity of the fear of the astronauts, as they try to destroy the alien life form that has invaded their spaceship. Everyone knows that the heart of an alien is evil! But then there’s a different movie…E.T., where the heart of the alien is fundamentally friendly.
I think these movies are so appealing to us because while we may not encounter aliens from other planets, we are all the time encountering strangers/aliens from other cultures or places. Sometimes people who are new to a country are called resident aliens. How do we respond?
In our scripture this week, the Israelites are reminded to deal justly with the aliens. God even explains why. Because “you know the heart of an alien”. The Israelites were also strangers once in Egypt. That event must always be formative for them in how they treat others.
The heart of an alien…does that mean we have to give up all the fearful stereotypes of strangers, all the assumptions that strangers are out to get us? Yup. It means loving not just your neighbours as yourself, but loving the alien as yourself.
We’re going to be talking about this theme for a few weeks…this week we are concentrating about aliens in our our churches. Don’t forget, “You have the heart of an alien!”
Today’s prayer: Open my eyes to my own heart, Lord…help me see my own vulnerability. From that place, help me to welcome others.