Why I Stand for Refugees
They are Syrians.
They are Muslims.
They are refugees.
They were at our 5:00PM Christmas Eve services last month.
Recently settled in St. Louis, a family of Syrian refugees was invited to our church. During communion, a dear woman in our congregation brought forward one of the children. Tears were streaming down her face. "Will you give him a blessing?"
The boy was six or seven. His bright eyes were intent upon me. I wasn't sure what to say. I wasn't sure if he could understand me. I said, "Jesus came for you, and he loves you."
As I walked back toward the altar, something struck me. Of the hundreds of people in the room, this boy had the most in common with the holy family. Jesus and his parents were wanderers in Bethlehem and refugees in Egypt.
I stand with this boy and his family. Here's why:
The cause of the refugee is a biblical focus.
God has a heart for those who have nothing. And so the alien, along with the widow and orphan, is a Divine focal point. Here's a sampling:
“Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner, or the poor . . .” (Zech. 7:10).
“You shall not wrong a foreigner . . . you shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child” (Ex. 22:21).
“He executes justice for the fatherless and widow and loves the foreigner” (Deut. 10:18).
“The Lord watches over the foreigner, he upholds the widow and the fatherless” (Ps. 146:9).
“Do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow” (Jer. 7:6).
“. . . those who oppress the widow, the fatherless, and those who thrust aside the foreigner” (Mal. 3:5).
I stand for those who can't speak.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor who stood up for the Jews under Nazi oppression. He wrote: "The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society."
We stand up for victims. If we march for the unborn, we march for the victims of war and oppression.
I want to be where Jesus is.
If Jesus was placed into today's context, he may not be allowed in our country. As a resident of Palestine (and a stint in Egypt), the man from Nazareth would be screened for U.S. entry. In Christ, God identifies with the outcast and oppressed. I want to be there too.
Fear has never been a good adviser.
I can't afford to live in fear. Of terrorism or Islam. Of economic or political collapse. Of sickness or death. I don't have time for it. My God is greater than fear. His refrain is "Fear not."
I thank God for our country. My kinfolk were refugees and immigrants too, only 170 years earlier. Praise God for his protection and provision. Praise God for his mercy upon the lowest and least.
*** I am for national security. I am an opponent of terrorism. Check out this article from Ed Stetzer on refugee statistics.
1/30/2017 10:05:08 am
YES!!! How can we do more??
1/30/2017 10:46:17 am
One person at a time. Use a local agency to connect with refugee families. Listen to them, serve them, eat with them. In St. Louis, we use http://www.cfna-stl.org/ They offer English, support, and after school programs for refugees from Syria, Nigeria, Nepal, Ethiopia, Eritrea, etc.
1/30/2017 09:38:56 pm
All I can day I'd Brovo. I'm not that big on words but I had to leave a comment
2/1/2017 05:45:19 am
Thank you for speaking about this. That's another thing people shouldn't be afraid to do--speak up!
2/8/2017 11:50:33 am
Thank you for your fearless objectivity to a very challenging time in America's history. It was most alarming to think that given today's temperament toward immigrants and refugees that Christ may not be allowed to enter our borders. Martin Luther had something to say about fear: "We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, nor defame our neighbor, but defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything."
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