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Refugee Week 2021

This week's reflection is written by our curate Andrew Day

‘God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble’ [Ps. 47.1] God is indeed our refuge and our strength - but what happens when we feel as if we have been abandoned, or forsaken, lost and oppressed? Are we able to seek in God our refuge? How comforting is that? Or can it heighten feelings of abandonment, fear and flight? People flee to places of refuge because, for the most part, they are fearful for their lives and for those of their children, and often make great sacrifices to enable better lives for those whom they love. They, therefore, seek refuge. Refuge is defined as a place of safety, of security, a place to which people flee from danger, from persecution, from warfare, from any form of oppression, or even seeking a better life for self and families (and what is the harm in that?). Sometimes those refugees are referred to as asylum (from the Greek asulon, (without the right of seizure, inviolable)) seekers or migrants. Some travel vast distances. on foot. Two of my children (two boys one 15, one 16) in my school, a school of sanctuary, in the North East, walked from Eritrea! Not once, but twice, after they were returned to Eritrea from the “Jungle” at Calais. We have all seen the pictures. We have read the stories. We have seen the fear within this country of migrants hitting these shores. Remember Brexit. So how is God a very present help in trouble? Well, I would argue that that is where we, the church, humanity, begin to be participants in God’s mission. Where we seek to be the enablers of heaven on earth, of God’s kingdom drawn near. We need to be the welcomer of the stranger into our midst, The giver of thanks for the manner in which they enrich our lives, our society. Each and every one of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, is called to embody the love the God showed in sending his son - to reconcile creation to himself, and to reconcile each of us, one to the other. So if we love God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, how well is that reflected in the manner in which we love our neighbour? Remember our neighbour may very well be the refugee in our midst - the subject of domestic violence, modern slavery, abuse… Jesus reminds us at the end of the Parable of the Good Samaritan that we are to follow the example of that very Samaritan - so we are exhorted ‘to go and do likewise’. [Lk 10. 37] Andrew

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