Friend of Strangers: Summary and Epilogue

Christian MölkFriend of Strangers Leave a Comment


In the beginning of creation, we can see how God created man as a migrant with the mission to multiply and fill the earth. But the Bible is also the story of the fellow man, how in the fall man became xenophobic and began to treat his brother and fellow man as an enemy and stranger.

God calls Abraham to leave his homeland and live as a sojourner and stranger in the land of his future people. The Lord promises Abraham that he will be a blessing to all the peoples of the earth.

God rescues Israel from slavery and alienation in Egypt and allows them to live in the Promised Land. God gives Israel the twofold mission of treating the stranger within Israel’s borders as his beloved fellow human being (integration), and outside Israel’s borders to be a kingdom of priests and a light in the darkness for the foreign Gentile peoples to the ends of the earth (mission).

God sends Jesus from his heavenly abode to live as a guest and stranger in the world. Jesus shows how to treat his fellow man and invites both Jews and foreigners to the heavenly feast. Through his death on the cross, Jesus breaks down the wall of separation between natives and strangers, Jews and Gentiles, and creates from these different peoples a new people.

Jesus then gives the church the twofold mission of integrating within the church the native and the foreign, Jew and Gentile, Swede and immigrant, into beloved brothers and sisters in the family of God, and of going out as missionaries into all the world, preaching the gospel to all the foreign peoples to the ends of the earth.

At the end of time, people from all peoples and tribes and countries and languages of the earth will gather before the throne and worship our Lord together.


Salvation is from the Jews, Jesus said.[i] I remember when, as a Swedish foreigner, I sat as a welcomed guest in the home of the Jewish Rabbi, eating good food accompanied by the Bible and loud songs of praise. I think we have a lot to learn from this Jewish tradition.

Because nothing turns a stranger into a guest like being treated to good food. It creates joy, community and peace. Before you know whether a stranger is a friend or foe, you need to reach over the wall and offer food. Then the potential enemy is transformed into a friend and guest.

I believe that the key to successful integration is to learn from the Jews’ Shabbat celebrations and reclaim the Lord’s Supper as a festive meal.

In Sweden, I would say that we have lost half the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Through the ceremonial part of the Lord’s Supper, the taking of bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus, we are reconciled with God. Through the food of the Lord’s Supper, we are reconciled with each other. By not eating together, we therefore risk missing half the point of the Lord’s Supper. When we offer each other food while putting Jesus at the center, we combine the Bible’s command to love God with all our hearts and our fellow human beings as ourselves. This can for example be done by inviting each other to Sunday dinners, having potlucks in church or making the church coffee part of the Lord’s Supper.

To conclude this study on what the Bible says about strangers and refugees, I would like to send a few short summary messages:

To Society

If a society wants to be xenophile, we can learn from the Bible that we should welcome refugees and immigrants as guests, contribute financially to them out of our abundance, give aid to their old homeland and integrate newcomers into society by giving both obligations and rights.

To the Church

If a church wants to be xenophile, it first needs to start identifying itself with strangers. It is almost difficult to find a person in the Bible who has not at some time been a stranger or a refugee. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Israel, David, Elijah, Daniel, Jesus, just to name a few. The painful experience of alienation is a breeding ground for lovingly treating other strangers as you would like to be treated yourself, Christian refugees as well as refugees from other religions.

A xenophile church also needs to actively work to bring peace to the community by reaching beyond the prejudicial and xenophobic walls that people have built up and inviting strangers into the kingdom of God by offering food and celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Above all, it is by including new people both in religious life and in church leadership that successful integration of both Swedes and immigrants can lead to a xenophile change in the church as well as in society at large.

To the Stranger

Those who have come to our country as refugees need to actively seek the good of their church and their new community by making their gifts and talents available, working actively to get out of exclusion and welfare dependency, and taking the opportunity to testify of Jesus when the opportunity arises. In the church, one is no longer a stranger but should actively work to integrate both oneself and all other members into the family of God.

Together with the other members of the church, you should work to spread the gospel back to your home country in one way or another.

To the Church Leader

Anyone who wants to become a leader in the church needs to be a friend of strangers as a starting point and work to include and integrate all members of the church. The church leader should stand on the side of the weak, raise his/her voice for refugees and defend the rights of vulnerable people.

As a leader, you can expect to have to withdraw into solitude from time to time for various reasons and seek refuge with the Lord. Time spent in solitude with the Lord refines the character of the leader, teaches the church leader to look at fellow human beings from God’s perspective and to learn to trust in God as his or her personal refuge.

In conclusion, I would like to urge you who have read this book: invite strangers to dinner! Because by welcoming refugees as guests, we are spreading God’s love for the stranger to the very ends of the earth, a joyful work we probably have to do for all eternity, because the earth has no borders, God created it round!

You have read a free chapter of my book Friend of Strangers. If you like this book, please consider purchasing the ebook through Amazon. Since English is not my native language, there may be some linguistic inaccuracies. Please contact me if you find any.

Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[i] Jn 4:22

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