Ann Voskamp is a Canadian blogger, author, and founder of the community, We Welcome Refugees. The goal of We Welcome Refugees is to empower Church in bringing hope and light to the refugee crisis. In October 2020, Ann gave a brief message on the theology of welcome.
Why should we choose a life of welcome? This was the question Ann posed at the beginning of her talk. This was also the question she invited us to wrestle with as people who love Jesus.
Ann was quite frank in her response – we welcome others because this act is a reflection of whom God is. By letting others into our lives, we are inviting them to experience God himself. We demonstrate to others how He is a God of love and one who cares about the injustices others encounter. We affirm how He himself is generous and hospitable. And as we reflect who He is, let us not forget that we are also extensions of God. Just as you are made in the image of God, so is every other individual around you.
The temptation is to live an individualistic and comfortable life – free from discomfort and heartbreaking stories of others. But this choice also prevents justice from following. We are prevented from carrying the pain of someone else and welcoming others to experience God.
What does the word ‘welcome’ mean to you? On first thought, this is synonymous with the idea of hospitality, and memories of scrambled cleaning, laboriously homecooked meals, and guests around the dinner table are conjured up. There is a desire to ensure that I’m good enough in the eyes of others. But Ann challenges us to view ‘welcome’ as a reflection of love and justice; this is a spiritual posture to embody. This involves stepping into the lives of others. And it starts with knowing the name, face, and story of someone you typically shy away from.
Whomever you may be prompted to welcome, let us not forget how the act of ‘welcome’ is not one of our own abilities and strength. It is an outpour of what has already been given to us. Let us live out of the fact that God is a God of abundance, not scarcity. To quote Ann, “our theology is best lived our in our hospitality”.
I invite you to consider who you are to welcome this week.
You can watch the full video here.
Have you thought about being part of welcoming refugees to our city?