Free for what?

"... but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Luke 9. 58


I have just caught up with the video recording of the Sleat Church's Act of Remembrance, so poignantly led by Niall MacKinnon. One thing in his closing prayer gripped me and that is when he mentioned the hundreds, if not thousands, of refugees in our world today who are fleeing from war and looking either for a safe place to call home or for the opportunity to return to their original homes when the fighting stops. Why can't we offer them a safe haven - for as long as they need it, perhaps permanently?


The reason we cannot is that our government does not allow it. Now, there are strong arguments for border controls: over-crowding, protecting jobs, excluding terrorists. All of these deserve taking into account. But what about the humanitarian argument for compassion, for helping those in need, in their moment of need? Herding desperate people into refugee camps can never be more than a temporary solution. But it has become a seemingly permanent solution in far too many instances. Imagine you were caught in one. Would you not be desperate for someone to come and offer you a better alternative?


There is surely something wrong with our so-called "global village", when so many are excluded from what the rest of us would consider the bare necessities: of sufficient food, a home to call our own, decent schools for our children, dignity for our senior citizens and hospitals when we need them. Jesus knows what that feels like, having been a refugee himself and having turned the key on his own home in later life in order to bring, and indeed be, good news for us all - even to death on a cross. The death and resurrection of Jesus offer us eternal hope. The sacrifice of those we remember particularly at this time of year have won the freedom to flourish now. One day we shall be called to account for how we used that freedom and the opportunities it brings. What shall we say?

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