December 5

Reflection by Birgitte Simpson, M.Div. student at Luther Seminary

All are welcome here
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
— Deut 10:17-19

         The largest concentration of Somalis, outside of the country of Somalia, live in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; and Somali refugees are not the largest group of foreign-born individuals living in Minnesota. The twin cities has large populations of immigrants and refugees from Mexico, India, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand (including Hmong), China, Korea, Ethiopia, and Liberia. Since 1990, the population of foreign-born residents has tripled and 80% of those individuals live in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). These statistics tell us something important about the context of Luther Seminary, like most of the country, we live in a place that is increasingly immigrant and largely refugees. Roughly 350,000 Twin Cities residents went to sleep on November 8th wondering if they would be safe anymore, if this place that they have made their home would still be their home, wondering if the people they encountered in the morning would be friends or foes.

          It has been almost a month since the election and signs like the one pictured above have been popping up all over the Twin Cities. Both St. Paul and Minneapolis have been loudly proclaiming a message of love and safety to those who have felt active hatred from this newly elected government. This place that Luther Seminary calls home has decided to make its stance explicitly clear: you are welcome here, all are welcome here.

          A month ago, before November 8th, we lived in a world in which we could imply things and implicitly say something and make assumptions. No more. This advent season it is not enough to prepare our hearts. It is not enough to prepare in silence. We are called to actively and explicitly declare that hate is not welcome here. We are called to actively and explicitly proclaim that Emmanuel, God with us, is love.

          In the words of Hebrews: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)


About Luther Seminary

Luther Seminary is located in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to offering traditional theological degrees (Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Master of Theology), Luther offers a no-cost, credit-bearing vocational discernment course for individuals completing a year of service in the twin city area through Lutheran Volunteer Corps and other service programs.

Luther Seminary is recognized as part of Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2016-17. To learn more about Luther, visit their website at www.luther.edu, or view their Seminaries that Change the World profile.