Thursday, September 10, 2015

How Should a Christian Respond to the Refugee Crisis?

I find myself unable to turn away from the refugee crisis in Europe.  The pictures make me want to weep.  I am an amateur student of history--I know how quickly one can become a refugee.

I firmly believe that most of the humans who are on the move are fleeing because they fear for their lives.  They're not looking for a better job.  They believe that if they stay, they will not survive.

I think that most people who leave their homelands have a similar mindset.  It's hard to forsake a homeland.  Most people stay, no matter how desperate the circumstances, because they want to believe that life will get better.  Most people stay because leaving is so difficult.

I've lately been hearing the refugee crisis in Europe called one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades and one of the largest movements of humans in a century--but I can't verify if that's true.  Still, I expect that this movement will change our planet in ways that we can't anticipate, both good and bad.

I am touched by the stories of towns and individuals who have opened their homes to these refugees.  I know that there are some in the U.S. who would like to do the same.

I am proud of the long, Lutheran tradition of helping with refugee resettlement.  For those who want to help in immediate ways, I'd start with Lutheran Social Services.  And of course, other denominations have been of similar service too.  Refugees will need all sorts of help, from housing to clothing to money to help in learning English.

For those of us who want to do more or who want to donate money, I'd offer Lutheran World Relief; this page describes what that organization is doing in the face of this current crisis.

There are many who will argue over whether or not we should respond at all.  And there are many more who will argue over the best way to respond.

The Gospels are clear:  we should treat these refugees as if Christ moves across continents with them.  We should see the face of God in the faces of these scared, hungry, desperate refugees.

We should not turn away.

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