Some ideas to walk alongside refugees

Refugee MapWondering how to respond to the national conversation about refugees?  Here are some thoughts and ideas to motivate your prayer and action.

We are compelled to love our neighbor.  Jesus assumed that His followers would.

We are convicted by the clear teaching of the Bible.  Here is a small sample of the 51 mentions of the ‘sojourner’ (what we would call a refugee or immigrant) which consistently caution against oppression and encourage justice and compassion.

  • Exodus 22:21    “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 10:18  “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt”.
  • Deuteronomy 27:19    “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
  • Zecheriah 7:10 “…do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

We are grateful for organizations like World Relief which has served the vulnerable and marginalized for over 70 years and is sounding the clarion call to serve the refugee and immigrant in our midst.

We are grateful for a united shout from Christian leaders for the current administration to reconsider it’s proposed reduction on refugee resettlement.  All of Restoration’s clergy signed this excellent letter last week.

We know that there is more that we can do to serve those who are most in danger of being lost or forgotten.  As opportunities come, we will invite you to come with us… because we must, because Jesus was a refugee who had to hide in a foreign land when His life was in danger (Matthew 2:13-23);  because God our Father told us to welcome the stranger;  because we should assume that fear, racism, and greed are always at work in our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) and they get rooted out by deliberate choice to say no to them;  because we are called to love people, to serve and not be served (Mark 10:45), to lay down our lives for our friends (John 15:13).  

Here are the opportunities this week:

  1.  Wednesday, Feb 15 at 12:15pm at Restoration:  45 minutes Mid-Week Eucharist with a short homily by Amy Rowe showing us God’s heart for the refugee.
  2. Wednesday, Feb 15 at 7:30pm at The Falls Church Anglican:  “In response to all the chaos and angst over the travel ban, we are having a prayer night.  We will spend time in confession, repentance and prayer for the church, the nation and for refugees and immigrants – all are welcome!”
  3. Sunday, Feb 19 after the 11am service at Restoration:  “Two West Asia church leaders will be sharing with Restoration about what God is doing among Syrian refugees in the Middle East.  Pastor R. serves a West Asian church in the ‘city between the continents.’  He is the head of the mercy ministry arm of an alliance of West Asian churches.  Pastor D. is a leader with the Samaritan Purse branch in West Asia and is also the director of First Hope Association.  FHA is the first West Asian Christian non-profit organization in West Asia that focuses solely on Syrian refugee ministry in the Middle East.”  Come have lunch and hear their story.
  4. Read.  Listen.  Ask Questions.  Did you hear the podcast on This American Life?  Did you read the text from David Griffin’s homily at our Mid-Week Eucharist a few weeks ago?  Have you read this article in the New Yorker about immigrants?  What has been helpful to you as you sort through your own response to what is happening in our country?
  5. Did you know that the volunteers at RiLA [Restoration Immigration Legal Aid] have focused their work on displaced persons who are seeking political asylum in the United States because of the threat of violence in their home country?  If you have found yourself outraged, sentimental, or confused about events in our country in the last few weeks and if you have wondered, “what can I do?”  The easiest and closest place to start is the first floor of Restoration Anglican Church on Wednesday, February 22 at 6pm.  We have dozens of people of all ages who come to our church hoping that our RiLA team can help them legally find a way to stay in our country.  There are opportunities for you to serve our guests–  to play with their kids, to translate (looking for Spanish speakers), to say, “Welcome!”, to serve snacks, to pray.  If you are feeling a desire to do something, come do something with RiLA.  If you are willing, we have a way you can serve, just ask.

So that’s this week.

I am sure more opportunities will emerge as we faithfully make ourselves available to God for the work He is doing.  I invite you to jump in with us.

-David