2000 years later
2000 years later and the call remains
As the Refugee Response Coordinator for Capital Mass, I’m hugely excited about the practical ways in which we as Londoners, can support some of the most vulnerable people in our city and across the world. Whether it’s Syrian families fleeing war and terror, or destitute asylum seekers already here in the UK, your support really can have a hugely transformative, life changing impact.
Whilst praying about my new role recently, I recounted one of my favourite stories from the Bible where Jesus reinstates Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee…
John 21:15-17 (NIV)
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
What really struck me about these verses, is that, for Jesus, loving him and caring for his people, are inseparable.
2000 years later, on European shores not too far away from the Sea of Galilee, millions of refugees have arrived. Just 25 miles or so away from the Sea of Galilee is Lebanon, a country where there are currently 1,011,366 displaced Syrian refugees.
The question is how will we respond especially as we’ve seen these images before and perhaps, becoming immune to them?
I think God’s call for us today is just as it was back then; “Feed my people, provide them food; care for my people, provide them with shelter and safety; love my people.” Two ways we can do this is through; Clergy Hosting and Community Sponsorship - both help us to embody the call of Christ: to welcome the stranger.
If we in the UK are to maintain our rich history of welcoming successive waves of refugees across the centuries, the success of these schemes are truly paramount. If you’d like to be a part of the compassionate response of the church, or would just like to find out more about either opportunity, we’d be delighted to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org.