For the past year I have had a deep sense of compassion for those men, women, boys and girls fleeing from their war torn countries and seeking refuge in Europe. I don’t presume to speak for anyone else, I speak for myself in the light of my faith, experience and interpretation of what the Bible says.
“Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.” (Psalm 82.3-4)
I have been praying for and pursuing justice for the marginalised wherever I come across them – the poor and hungry in Teesside, the migrants in Calais, the Roma in Romania, the homeless in Mexico, those around me who are lonely, suffering abuse – or through whatever circumstances find themselves involuntarily prevented from accessing the productive activity upon which society is built. God’s heart is for such people, Jesus would speak for them and as one of His followers, I will speak up for them too.
Justice is not only about punishing wrongdoing, it is also about bringing the world back into balance. So, in feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, accompanying the lonely, standing with the refugee, supporting the abused through to freedom, I can be part of the redressing of the balance, as indeed can you with whatever opportunities you are given.
I believe Jesus will judge me based on how I have treated the marginalised in the world, He personalises it in the Bible when He says, “I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” (Matthew 25.35) When his disciples didn’t understand what He meant, He clarified that whenever we meet the needs of others, it is as if we are doing it for Him directly, such is His closeness to and heart for the marginalised.
How blessed I was, to have visited the ‘Jungle’, Calais on May 1st to stand with the Orthodox Christians and worship with them on Orthodox Easter Day; they fed me, they gave me a drink, they invited me in; and my country remains largely closed to them.
Please check out care4calais.org or their facebook page, please help. I’ve spent time with the people in desperate need, heard their stories; this is not an issue to be resolved, they are people to be rescued. They have names, are precious and deserve justice. Some folk from RENEW will be returning to Calais to help in our small way, get in touch if you’d like to support us. We’d love to welcome you to one of our services. Please check out our new website www.re-new.me.uk
Rev Alan Brand