5 You shall then recite as follows before the Lord your God: “My father was a fugitive Aramean. He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there; but there he became a great and very populous nation. 6 The Egyptians dealt harshly with us and oppressed us; they imposed heavy labor upon us. 7 We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our plea and saw our plight, our misery, and our oppression.
Jewish Publication Society. (1985). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Dt 26:5–7). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.
This is part of the Old Testament reading for Thanksgiving is a reminder of who we are and where we come from. This translation calling our father (Abraham) a fugitive Aramean is a slight change from the New Revised Standard Version which translates it rather a "wandering Aramean".
The difference is important though it looks subtle at first glance. Wandering suggests, at least in my mind, a sort of carefree traveling through the world. Fugitive, on the other hand, suggests that our heritage has more of an outlaw characteristic to it.
If we, like Abraham, are fugitive we must not only be fleeing from something but also seeking to find something.
Abraham was a fugitive for the promise of God. Land, descendants and a future that he could not imagine.
We hear that the church is in decline. We hear that the message doesn't strike the chord it once did with folks. The pews are not nearly as full as they used to be, but for those who are fugitives for the freedom of the Gospel and from the tyranny of sin (read here willful separation from God) then the Good news of God in Christ has never been more needed.
One thing the church, at its best, can do better than any other group of folks I know of is form communities of hope, healing and purpose where there was once only a wandering group of hopeless ,helpless and homeless folks.
I for one am glad to be a fugitive for the Gospel