Monday, September 28, 2015

Compassion is Civilized

The Refugee Crisis Frontline: Croatia’s Christians Lend a Hand

“To do good to others does not mean civilization will perish in Europe.”
 ~ Marija Koprivnjak,
refugee coordinator for the Evangelical Pentecostal Church of Croatia

Ruth, my wife, was asked by a co-worker what she thought about bringing refugees into Canada. She offered that she strongly  supported it, but this "question" was really an opportunity for this person to work up a head of steam about Muslims infiltrating our country with their huge families. Apparently all our women will be wearing burkas in no time. There is a lot of this nonsense floating around in what people seem to think is a Christian nation.

I saw this story out of Croatia and was encouraged to discover that Christian communities there are responding with practical compassion, even though the strain in enormous and will only grow:

As of Monday, more than 27,000 people have crossed into Croatia from Serbia.
Beli Manastir, a small border town in northeast Croatia, boasts a population of less than 11,000. Over the course of last Thursday night, 8,000 refugees—many from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq—flooded across the border into a holding area prepared for no more than 1,000 people.

In communities across Europe people of good will, including Christian individuals and congregations are doing what they can to respond to a refugee crisis which will not abate any time soon.

It's hard not to be angry at those who will use any excuse for xenophobia and selfishness. I am so impressed by the churches of Prince Edward County which have raised $50,000 to sponsor a family of fifteen Syrian refugees. There are a number of other sponsorship efforts underway in and around Belleville, including one which includes Bridge St., St. Matthew's, and other United Churches. The family of five we are sponsoring is Muslim, but human need is not confined by religion, nor should our compassion be sectarian.

It is essential that we open our hearts as well as our wallets as we find our ways to respond with Christ's compassion.


1 comment:

Judy said...

I agree, absolutely.