So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them: "I'm here to introduce you to this God.... He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him!" ~Acts 17
I came back to the U.S. eager to share their stories. At first, I was full of hope and enthusiasm, but as months passed I grew discouraged and frustrated. It felt like their stories—be it those I shared, those shared by others advocating for refugees, or the ones on the front pages of newspapers around the world—evaporated into the air. It felt like the world was simply shrugging its shoulders and looking away. While I connected with Christian leaders and friends advocating for refugees, I was disheartened by the lack of priority and concern in churches in North American and the church as a whole.
“All I need is the permission to put these people on this island. After that I don’t needanything anymore from them. I’ll pay them for the island, I’ll provide the jobs, I’ll take care of all the logistics. I know I can do that,” he said during a CNN interview.
But here’s what makes my heart quicken.
This morning, I read in the Huffington Post that Pope Francis announced the Vatican would take in two refugee families and called on European Catholic bishops to “express the Gospel in concrete terms” and have their dioceses do the same.
“Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing death by war and by hunger, and who are on a path toward a hope for life, the Gospel calls us to be neighbours to the smallest and most abandoned, to give them concrete hope,” he said.
“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe host a family, starting with my diocese of Rome.”
Then I read a post by Ann Voskamp announcing the formation of We Welcome Refugees, founded by Voskamp, World Relief and The Justice Conference to connect churches, communities, organizations and individuals to respond in practical and tangible ways to the crisis—including sponsoring refugee families and finding concrete ways to embrace them into our communities.
Today, there are tears in my eyes again. But this time, it is hope that is taking my breath away. This post was originally posted at For Such a Time is Now, a website I developed to raise awareness of the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis, where you can find out more about the crisis and how you can help.