Over 65 million people walk this earth in search of home. We have a name for them. A name that distances us from their flight. A name that belongs to them and not to us. A name that assures us that their story is not ours. Refugees.

And yet, we are all from some other place. Another town or another country. Another moment in our lives that seems like another lifetime. Another idea of ourselves or one another or our gods that was abandoned by disappointment or honed by experience. Another world faintly beckoning just on the other side of this one. There is, underneath the din of distraction, a restlessness that hints of another destination — that whispers of home.

This week, under the full moon, Jews and Christians will celebrate Passover and Holy Week respectively. Around seder tables and in churches, stories will be told of migrations from Egypt into the desert, from the desert into Jerusalem. Perhaps these stories will resonate with your own flight from what binds you to what sets you free —- a journey through the harsh in-between places of what you knew and who you were and what you held onto into a new way of seeing and being … a journey compelled by the soft flesh and the coursing blood of a holy longing to always be on the road home … a journey that makes refugees of us all.

Passover Remembered *
by Alla Renee Bozarth

Pack Nothing.
Bring only your determination to serve
and your willingnesss to be free.

Don’t wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey,
but eat standing, be ready
to move at a moment’s notice.

Do not hesitate to leave
your old ways behind—
fear, silence, submission.

Only surrender to the need
of the time— to love
justice and walk humbly
with your God.

Do not take time to explain to the neighbors.
Tell only a few trusted friends and family members.

Then begin quickly,
before you have time to sink back
into the old slavery.

Set out in the dark.
I will send fire to warm and encourage you.
I will be with you in the fire
and I will be with you in the cloud.

You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely home to that place
you have not yet seen.

Some of you will be so changed
by weathers and wanderings
that even your closest friends
will have to learn your features
as though for the first time.
Some of you will not change at all.

Some will be abandoned
by your dearest loves
and misunderstood by those
who have known you since birth
and feel abandoned by you.

Some will find new friendship
in unlikely faces, and old friends
as faithful and true as the pillar of God’s flame.

Sing songs as you go,
and hold close together.
You may at times grow
confused and lose your way.

Continue to call each other
by the names I’ve given you,
to help remember who you are.
You will get where you are going
by remembering who you are.

Touch each other
and keep telling the stories
of old bondage and of how
I delivered you.

Pass on the whole story.
I spared you all
by calling you forth
from your chains.

Do not go back.
I am with you now
and I am waiting for you.

*This is an excerpt. If you wish to enjoy the entire poem with visuals, please see link below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv5I32leo5c

This posting was inspired by a sermon delivered by Rev. Kathleen Owens of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Diego on Palm Sunday 2017.