2020 has been a dreadful year. With all that has gone on in the world, it would be easy to relegate conversations about immigration and immigration reform to the back burner. Navigating the uncertainty and disruption caused by COVID-19, grieving the pernicious and persistent racial injustice that plagues our country, and simply managing our daily lives seem like overwhelming tasks. We have little mental or spiritual capacity for taking on more.

But one thing the outbreak of COVID-19 and the heinous sin of racial injustice have in common with the debate about immigration reform is that each of these pressing realities of our time pushes us to reconsider the kind of people and kind of nation we want to be. What kind of society do we want to live in? What will the shape of our communal life look like? How can we structure our communities and our nation in ways that are safe, stable, and just?

As we move into a world that has been reshaped by COVID, the inclination will be to isolate our communities from “outsiders” in order to protect the U.S. against global threats and safeguard the prosperity of American citizens. But if we have learned anything from COVID-19, it is that our own health and well-being is not something we can attend to and cultivate in isolation from the global community. An outbreak of a virus in Wuhan, China, does affect us. We live in a global world that has increasingly tied the fates of countries around the world together. More people are traveling internationally. Our economies are interconnected. Our security and protection are dependent on healthy international relations and good diplomacy. To invest in and attend only to ourselves puts the country at greater risk down the road. A less global U.S. will be a less prosperous and less stable U.S.

For this reason, thinking about, talking about, even debating immigration reform is an important step to the healing of our own communities. For Christians, the place to begin thinking about any social issue is with the Bible. Thus, the first question we should be asking is what do the Scriptures say about immigration, about the “strangers” and “sojourners” who live among us?

The Bible has quite a lot to say about immigrants. There are more than 100 passages that directly address the cause of the immigrant and a good many stories aboutsojourners and immigrants in the Bible. The Israelites themselves were refugees, escaping from Egypt by the hand of God, as was Jesus, whose parents fled from Bethlehem when he was an infant to escape the persecution of King Herod. And while it is true that there are differences between sojourning in the ancient near East and immigration today, through these passages and stories, the Bible provides important principles and insights that can help us think about and approach immigration through the lens of faith.

Immigration, the Bible, and You, is a book designed to serve as a primer for Christians who want to explore what the Bible has to say about immigration. Focusing on a number of key illustrative texts, this book invites readers to consider immigrants through the eyes of God, reflecting on what God sees when he looks at immigrants and particularly the plight of asylum seekers and refugees today. What the Bible makes clear is that God loves the immigrant and we are to love the immigrant, too (Deut. 10:18-19). But what does that mean? What does it look like to love the immigrant in terms of immigration reform? How do we balance protecting our country from outside threats (whether that be from violence or disease) while also attending to our global responsibilities to refugees and asylum seekers who are fleeing violence and persecution?

What does it mean for how we treat and interact with immigrants in our own communities and churches? How do we create hospitable communities that are able to welcome and enfold immigrants? What does it mean for how we think about the issues of undocumented workers? How do we navigate the tension between a respect for the law and compassion for those who are vulnerable? Immigration, the Bible, and You touches on these concerns, and through questions available on the Calvin Press website, it helps readers reflect deeply on how to be faithful to God’s call to love immigrants today.

Although we have many things to consider as we move into the last quarter of 2020, one that we cannot neglect is the global refugee crisis that pre-dated COVID-19 and will continue in a world redefined by the coronavirus. While it may not seem self-evident, this is a good time for Christians to educate themselves about biblical perspectives on immigration. This is a good time for the Christian community to consider its voice in the conversation about what the future of this country should look like with respect to immigration.