Tag Archives: refugees

a prayer for more love

Most gracious and compassionate God, how thankful I am this morning for the love you pour into Your children’s lives. We are sustained through Your everlasting mercy and your grace. I praise You for Your presence that never leaves nor forsakes us.

Today, we have another gift, the multitude of opportunities to reflect that love and grace You have already shown us. Help us embrace that gift. Help us reach out to those most in need of love and compassion.

Empower us through Your Holy Spirit to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Let us be true peacemakers in a world filled with conflict and violence. Let Your love flow through us that all those around us would feel Your love and acceptance.

Especially, Lord, I would ask that those who are fleeing their homes might know Your strength. Allow them a sense of Your presence that they might have a respite from their fear.  And allow us who live in safety to reach out to them with the aid and relief most needed. Grant us all a spirit of hospitality.

Give us more love, Lord.

All of this we ask in the Name of the risen Christ. Amen

 

South Sudan’s hunger crisis

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Even though South Sudan’s hunger crisis isn’t making the headlines it is terribly real. Today I am at Lake Junaluska in the mountains of North Carolina having meetings  with United Methodist leaders from the Holston Conference about our common ministry in this embattled country.

Our hope is to partner in our efforts to increase our impact. We all realize that working together accomplishes far more than working alone. In today’s meetings we will explore ways to connect and serve even more of those in need.

nothing Christian in Xenophobia

Normally, I do not think too highly of resolutions and statements issued by boards and other legislative bodies. Words are cheap. I am much more impressed with action.  However,I applaud this statement by the World Methodist Council.

I have been in South Africa numerous times and have seen firsthand the violence brought about by irrational xenophobia. I also know and am proud to call Ivan Abrahams, and my friend. I have seen him struggle with this issue when he was Bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa. He has a true heart for the oppressed, the refugee and the stranger in our midst. He is a man of faith and action.

I have also visited with refugees camped in Methodist Church sanctuaries in the heart of Johannesburg. I have heard their stories and felt their fear.

I have seen the anger and rage directed at these refugees. It is too often incited by those with hidden agendas and those whose motives should be held up for closer inspection. It is manufactured on fear and an appeal to nationalism.

Xenophobia is the fear of the stranger. There’s nothing Christian in such a response. Perfect love casts out fear.

World Methodist Council Issues Statement Against Attacks on Foreigners in South Africa

17 April 2015

 

Peace March in Durban, South Africa on 16 April 2016.
Photo Credit: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government

In the wake of escalating violence against foreign nationals, refugees and asylum seekers in the Republic of South Africa, World Methodist Council representatives express concern and disappointment at these clear violations of human rights. General Secretary Ivan Abrahams and the Social Justice Committee of the World Methodist Council issued this joint statement today condemning the violence and attacks:The World Methodist Council condemns these attacks which so clearly undermine human rights and dignity. We applaud the actions of Methodist family members within the Republic of South Africa who have stood up against these human rights violations.  We also welcome the recent statements of President Zuma and senior government officials. We further support the marches and events held to bring awareness to take a stance against such atrocities. We pray that they are successful in continuing to promote initiatives toward peaceful coexistence. We implore the South African government to protect the rights of all people as enshrined in its Constitution. We further call on Methodists and Wesleyans within the neighboring countries of South Africa to stand in solidarity with and aid all those affected by these attacks. We are one human race. Let us all continue to pray and speak out against the injustices throughout our world.

at the feet of the Church

We live in a world blessed by a loving Creator, a world well able to supply all the needs of the human family. That any should lack daily bread is nothing less than sinful. Every malnourished child in our world bears eloquent testimony to the complete lack of Christian values held by our society. I lay this at the feet of the Church.

Why? We have failed to give ourselves on behalf of the poor and hungry, We have failed in our basic purpose of testifying to the Kingdom. We have failed to care.

To be honest (always difficult in the Church), we have actually served to legitimize world views, political and economic systems diametrically opposed to the central message of the Gospel. The Church has closely identified with worldly and cultural power and then has consistently rationalized our position. Our fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been completely overshadowed by our desire to be respectable and to fit into society.  Every time a child cries from hunger is a witness to the Church’s lack of faithfulness.

Ending hunger in our world requires leadership. No other organization should be in a better position to provide that leadership than the Church. But until we regain a desire to provide true “good news” for the poor and hungry this will never happen. We have to again come to the place where we understand our role in transforming society.

And even though that is exactly what the Gospel calls us to do, at the moment the Church is far too comfortable to attempt it. We are at peace with the present world systems that hold two-thirds of our family hostage to hunger.  We continue to take our ease and hide behind our stained glass while 25,000 die every day from hunger.  We are far too enamored with the “good life” to care.

We identify with the rich, the powerful, the elite. They are our heroes and role models. We don’t have time for the oppressed, the outcasts, the refugees, the poor, the hungry. Until that changes the Church will continue to wither, totally deserving the lack of respect and interest it receives.  Until that changes we will never end hunger. We will never achieve justice. And there will never be peace in the world.