3 Questions That Have To Be Asked About Refugees
That concept has heretofore been a vague one to me. I’ve paid passing attention to it as it has cropped up in the news off and on throughout my life. I’ve tossed it out as kind of a metaphorical attention-getter in teaching about the story of God’s people. But, it has never really landed anywhere for me as a real part of my life or consciousness until very recently. Like the rest of you, I’ve found myself without a way around it – there’s no escaping it right now.
So, I am giving it what is probably long-overdue thought. As I consider the concept personally, pastorally, and as a consumer of social media, a few questions have settled into my mind – refusing to rest. I think they’re important ones for all Christians to ask. The questions themselves may seem to lean a certain direction, but it’s my intention to simply put them on the table and allow the questions themselves to lean as they will. I’m only going to ask you to set aside political affiliations and nationalism long enough to present them to open-handedly to God. I fully expect God’s people to land in a variety of places. These are not simple times we find ourselves in and any answer to these questions present enormous challenges. Then again, we’re God’s people. Enormous challenges are kind of his thing.
What about hospitality?
The arc of the Bible presents an undeniable affiliation with and regard for the homeless, stranger in the land, disenfranchised. God frames himself as the deliverer of his people Israel – then extends that liberation to all humanity in his covenants with Abraham and David. He demands that Israel make provision for others who come into their land, offering them a place to stay, a means of feeding themselves, etc.
What about provision and scarcity?
God is insistent in Scripture that he is the one who provides for his people – and even for those who are not his people. In fact, he treats it as an affront when start to think and act like we are the ones who own things. He also seems to be saying that to the extent that we are open-handed with what he gives us, he will continue to be ever-more generous, as there is no end to what he can provide.
What about our fear and God’s protection?
God has a habit of saying things like, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” He loves perfectly and invites us to come as close as we can to doing the same, because perfect love drives out fear. He promises protection for his people in any and all circumstances, reminding us that trusting in power technologies (horses and chariots, for example) is foolhardy. He generally seems to claim that while there is always danger around us, and sometimes that danger will connect with our lives, he is still there – standing in the fire with us.
I don’t want to say more. Maybe I’ve said too much. I’m praying over these questions and hope you are as well.
May God lead his people to wisdom in responding to the crisis of Syrian refugees. May he be glorified in his people around the world as we respond in faith and do our clay-footed best to be agents of redemption. May Jesus come quickly to set things right.