Providing a refuge

October 16th, 2015

This past September the body of a Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, was washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. This horrific image put the Syrian refugee crisis into the global spotlight as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Syrians are trying to escape from their country’s brutal civil war between President Bashar Al-Assad’s government and armed rebellion forces. Since beginning in 2011, the war has killed over 220,000 people. The country is in ruins from bombings, and citizens are living in fear of terrorists and without basic necessities to survive.

The world’s response

Syrians are taking great risks fleeing their country in hopes of a better life. The United Nations predicts there could be 4.27 million Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. Nearly 5 million have fled the country to nearby countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Kuwait; a few hundred thousand have fled to more distant countries like Germany and Greece. However, many neighboring countries will not accept any refugees. Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry pledged that the United States will take 100,000 refugees a year by 2017, increasing from 70,000 this year.

Our Christian response

Christians especially should be the first to embrace refugees. Our faith’s history has a long narrative of fleeing dangerous situations. The Israelites escaped slavery and persecution with the help of Moses and, in the New Testament, disciples of Christ fled from one place to another to escape violence. Even Jesus himself was a refugee as he escaped the genocide of Herod with his parents. Throughout Scripture, God reminds us to treat foreigners with compassion and justice. The way we are called to treat foreigners is comparable to the way we are instructed to care for orphans and widows (Deuteronomy 24:17-22). Not only are we called to help those in need, but by doing so, we take part in God’s plan of restoration. Embracing our Syrian neighbors is a tangible way we can help spread the love of Christ.

Question of the day: Who do you go to as a source of refuge when you need help?
Focal Scriptures: Psalm 18:1-6; Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 25:31-40

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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