‘And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6v8
The tragic and heart breaking scenes captured by the picture above are hard for us to comprehend from the security and comfort of our own homes. As we watch the hundreds of families trying to board a train in Hungary, as we listen to the reports of yet another boat that has capsized we need to pinch ourselves that this is not a film – this is unfolding before our very eyes just a few hundred miles away!
The loss of little three year old Aylan Kurdi is a shocking reminder to us all of what countless more families and children will face if things don’t change. At a political level there is still a long way to go but what can we do?, what should we be doing?
First we should speak up for the most poor and vulnerable because God is concerned for the poor and vulnerable. ‘For the Lord your God…shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the Alien (refugee), giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens (refugees). Deuteronomy 10v17-19
God is not immune to the heartache of these peopel broken by acts of injustice, greed and war and so we should also share the same concern and speak up for their needs.
Second we should act justly. ‘Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?’ Isaiah 58v6-7. This desire is portrayed by the teaching of Jesus: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ Luke 10v27. Those we see on our television screens are our own flesh and blood. They are our neighbours.
To act justly is to give what people are in need of, and in this case it is obvious what people need: Homes, Food, Security, Peace. We should do all we can to give and make their lives better.
Third we should provide a rich welcome to those who are without homes in need of homes. ‘There should be no poor among you…if there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you do not be hard hearted or tight fisted towards your poor brother or sister.’ Deuteronomy 15v4,7. Gods desire was that their should be ‘no poor’ and to ensure that happened various laws were given to his people to welcome and provide for the most vulnerable. It was also God’s command to the church: ‘Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.’ Galatians 6v10. While we care for the church family we are to ‘do good to all people’ regardless of their race or religion.
As people, children, Mums, Dads, Families make their way to this nation make sure we are at the forefront of welcoming and providing and not ‘crossing the other side of the road’.
Perhaps more important than all this is why we should do it.
We have been shown incredible mercy by God. God has shown us grace upon grace every day. We have homes, schools, hospitals, work, social benefits – there is so much to be thankful for. But above all this God has Welcomed us into his family. God through his Son Jesus Christ entered into the poverty of this world, this broken God-rejecting world, and made it possible for us to be forgiven so that we might have the hope of an eternal home, heaven itself. God took us, who were wandering away from him, without hope and gave us a new life, peace with God and the security of life eternal. When we were in the crisis of our sin God showed his amazing grace to us. Let us show this same grace to others.