Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jesus was a Refugee

There have been reports of hundreds of Mexicans flooding across the border into Canada creating a considerable challenge -- some would say crisis -- for the city of Windsor and other municipalities. Many of these folk were well established in the US, owning homes and businesses. But they can't stay and don't want to return to Mexico for many reasons. Are they refugees? Whatever the official status, they are seeking refuge in our country.

What if there were thousands of refugees arriving every day of the year? That is what is happening in the Middle East as Iraqis flee the violence in their country. Two million have been displaced internally and another two million have left the country. In 2006 one million entered Syria and many more are in Jordan. The photo to the left shows an Iraqi family on the move through the desert. So far the US has allowed an underwhelming 500 of these refugees into their country.

Today there was an article in the Globe and Mail by three authors, including former cabinet minister Flora MacDonald, challenging Canada to receive Iraqi refugees. They point out that it wasn't all that long ago that our country responded to a humanitarian crisis and resettled 50,000 Vietnamese across Canada. As St. Paul's and hundreds of other churches are aware, Christian congregations made a huge difference in this effort.

We can't forget that Jesus was a refugee. According to one of the gospels his family fled from the wrath of Herod and hid out in Egypt. Knowing that the Christ was a displaced person, do we need to expand our notion of hospitality?

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