Monday, June 20, 2022

World Refugee Day & Our Christian Response


There are many stories in scripture of individuals or groups fleeing for their lives or going into exile, displaced from the comfort and security of what they know. The Israelites spent years in the wilderness after leaving the oppression of Egypt. Naomi and her family left Israel for Moab because of famine, and eventually returned with Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth years later. Ruth is listed in the "begats" of Matthew, the lineage for the family of Jesus which fled persecution when he was an infant, spending a period of time in Egypt. 

Is it any wonder then that hospitality, welcoming the friend or the stranger is an important theme in both the Older and Newer Testaments of the bible. Hospitality is both a practical and spiritual imperative.

We can keep this in mind on World Refugee Day 2022. While the stories of the bible are thousands of years old they are applicable to the moment in which we live when more people are on the move as refugees and asylum seekers that at any other time in history, with the possible exception of WW2. While much attention has been focussed on those displaced in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, and rightly so, there are humanitarian crises around the globe. It is essential that we respond with compassion and welcome. There is yet another convoy of desparate people of all ages walking through Central America toward the US border. Canada has entered into an agreement with the States regarding migrants, but it really isn't enough.  

We can make a difference in our generosity as individuals and as communities of faith. 

LEADER: We give praise to our God who gathers us as one people. 

PEOPLE: We delight in our God who has mercy upon us.

 LEADER: We seek to be one with refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. 

PEOPLE: Clear our eyes that we may see the sufferings of displaced people. 

LEADER: We welcome those whose lives have been dislocated by war, famine and injustice. 

PEOPLE: Open our ears that we may hear the cries of those deep in despair. 

LEADER: We express our solidarity with all who search for a new life, a new home, a new promise.

 PEOPLE: Guide our feet that we may spread comfort; loosen our tongues that we might speak words of hope.

 LEADER: Give us open hearts that we may be truly welcoming to the stranger in our midst. 

ALL: God remind us that through our acts of hospitality we are restored to you. Amen.

Here are some facts from the UNCR regarding refugees

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