The first time I heard about the Refugee Crisis – I was in my car. It was a beautiful Hawaiian day and I was driving across the island to teach. When I heard that six hundred people had died the day before crossing the Mediterranean, I thought I must have misheard. Six hundred. Surely if that many people had died, there would be an outrage, an uproar. When they continued to repeat the number and went on to other news, my stomach dropped. People were dying and we simply didn’t care.
As a child, I was reminded by Sunday school teachers and other adults in the church that I didn’t have to go somewhere to be a missionary. I could proclaim the Gospel to the those around me, right here in my neighborhood, who didn’t know the grace we have been lavished with. While some people were called to go and “do missions” I was allowed to support their work and just stay put in my little suburban home, evangelizing under the threat of being perceived as too radical.
But those aren’t the words Jesus said. He said that we needed to go into all the nations proclaiming the Gospel. Perhaps the Christian-ness and comfort in America has made us soft, but if we think that our lives are so entrenched in missions that we can turn away thousands of people in need from all over the world, we are wrong. The nations are coming to us, and we are concerned about our safety. We believe our God is over everything but do we not believe He is giving us this opportunity for the Gospel to spread?
The Israelites were called out to be a people separate from others. As Christians, we are called to be separated from others in our conduct and then sent out into the world. We need a gut-check. If I am more concerned about keeping my nice, suburban life the way it is than bringing in women and children fleeing war, I need to seriously evaluate what it means to take up my cross and follow Christ.
If we want to talk about safety concerns, let’s go there. Early Christians had good reason to be concerned for their safety. They were being slaughtered by the government for entertainment. But boldly they went forth.
We, as Christians, are protected by our government. Perhaps it’s time for us to become a little uncomfortable and to stretch out our hands and welcome in to our communities and homes those who are fleeing oppression and war.
We have been placed in a situation where the nations, they are coming to us and asking for peace. May the Prince of Peace reign in our hearts and may we go forth spreading the Good News.