We share that common text in our tradition. The most often repeated command in our tradition, for Jews, but shared with you, our Christian family. ‘You were slaves in Egypt, and therefore you are to love stranger.’ Thirty-six different times it is repeated in the Torah. Thirty-six, which is the Jewish number for life. One time, it says, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Thirty-six times it says love the stranger because it is thirty-six times harder, but thirty-six times more important. Together, Lutherans and Jews, and Christians and Muslims, and people of all faiths, and people of no faith must at this moment in history do justice to that phrase that the most sacred act is to love the person who is not like us.
at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Milwaukee, WI; August 8, 2019.