v. 19 You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
In our reading today Moses summarizes the law that has been given the people. God identifies himself as
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 stranger, providing for them food and clothing.
God cares for all the vulnerable in the land and Israel is to do the same. This is of the essence of the Law.
Once in my last parish, Psalm 146 got re-typed for a service leaflet. The 8th verse began this way:
The LORD loves the righteous;
the LORD cares for the strange...
After a few chuckles, on reflection we thought that was just right. The Lord cares for the strange indeed, and thanks be to God for that.
Who among us has not been a stranger, or strange, even among those we know and love. From Israel's earliest memories God cares for the vulnerable in society and asks the people to do the same.
Perhaps this Lent there is some "strangeness" within you that needs to be loved by God and cared for. Perhaps there is some stranger you need to welcome. Whichever it is (and it may be both), it's Gospel work.