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2010-06-20

World Refugee Day

Things have been slow on the blog front of late, and I'm sorry about that. Truth is, I've never been very good at blogging consistently, though this is definitely something I want to improve on. Maybe after God finishes leading me through deeper issues that need to be addressed within me, I can move on to my woefully intermittent blogging. Until then, sporadic posts will have to suffice.

Today is World Refugee Day. The danger with focusing on something for one particular day is, of course, that the next day we might think to ourselves:"Whew, glad I took care of that. What do we have planned for today?" As though Christ wasn't risen from the dead the day after Easter. As though those who have fled from Sudan or the Congo or Kyrgyzstan won't be refugees tomorrow.

Nevertheless, we humans, being tragically forgetful people, need reminders from time to time of the reality in which we find ourselves. World Refugee Day is just such a reminder. It is good that we non-refugees stop and ponder the fact that some 15 million people are currently refugees in our world: people who have been forced to flee from their homes.

What might this mean in light of Jesus' words concerning the final judgment in Matthew 25?

"I was a stranger and you welcomed me...as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Matt 25:35, 40, ESV).

At very least, it means that I need to repent.

Along those lines, I'd like to share a public confession our church shared today, in honor of World Refugee Day. True repentance is marked by intentional action in a different direction. May this prayer of confession be a beginning, not the end, of our movement to love our refugee neighbors as ourselves.

A Confession for World Refugee Day:


Leader: Let us come before the throne of God who has created each person in God's image, and confess together that as a country:

All:
*We have turned away the needy from our doors

*We live in a country of plenty, while others live in countries of want

*We have promoted economic policies that are destructive to other peoples and nations and do not reflect the love of Christ

*Our taxes have often supported violence in other countries that has driven people from their homes and lands

Lord forgive us.

Leader: Let us also confess before Christ, who was himself a migrant and without a home, that as a community:

All:
*We have felt more comfortable amongst established groups of friends, and hesitant to welcome newcomers

*We can be slow to confront the racism that we see around us

*We sometimes choose ignorance of what is happening in the world over knowledge, because it may demand too much of us

Perdonanos oh Dios.

Leader: Let us finally confess before the Holy Spirit who hears the cries of the poor that as individuals:

All:
* We are often the beneficiaries of discriminatory policies

*We are reluctant to create space in our busy lives for people we know to be different than ourselves

*We sometimes see ourselves as superior to people from other cultures

*We find it too easy to forget the millions of people forced to flee starvation and economic devastation. In the midst of rising food prices around the world we continue to throw away food.

Oh Seignur, que tu nous pardonnes

O Lord, open our eyes that we may see the needs of refugees; open our ears that we may hear people's cries for justice; open our hearts that we may assist sojourners near and far.

AMEN





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