Following on from last week I want us again to think about the refugee crisis which has apparently ‘hit’ Europe and been in the news feeds across the world. I want to start by shouting THIS IS NOT A NEW SITUATION! It is one that has been there for years and years. It is only now that the world has woken up to the reality. If I am honest I am angry about the whole thing!
Angry because for the last 5 years our congregation has been supporting a Church of Scotland congregation in Malta with the vital work they have been doing with refugees and migrants there. And the Church of Scotland Guild has helped raise funds for this ground breaking work. As I said this isn’t a new problem – it has simply been exacerbated by the situation in Syria.
Angry because no one seemed to be listening – why did it take that image of Aylan to wake us up? Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have now died making similar desperate journeys.
Angry because last year when I started a petition about the scale back in search and rescue in the Mediterranean it got 3300 signatures. That sounds like a lot but nothing compared to those that have been springing up in the last month. (And yes I have signed them all)
Angry because some of our most well established and well respected charities have been advertising like billy oh for the last month – there I said it. But where have they been for the last decade?
Angry because our politicians play politics with peoples’ lives. (I am ashamed at my own government’s response…ashamed) By the way Mr Cameron there are plenty of us happy to say #refugeeswelcome and #ihaveaspareroom!
I am angry at the world. Simples. Why has it taken so long to wake up to this and why only now are we responding?
Not that I got that off my chest, can I also say I am hopeful. The grassroots response has been phenomenal. The response of the people of Germany in welcoming refugees has been heart-warming. To watch news reports of ordinary citizen’s at train stations welcoming their fellow earth citizens has brought tears to my eyes. People have been looking to the church for help in finding ways to help. I have lost count of the number of people who have contacted me, people with no church connection, to ask how they can help. Tonight I am heading to a public meeting to speak about the work the church has been doing in Malta. In our wee local authority area we have set up Moray CalAid via Facebook and it has been fantastic to see the response this has received.
I preached on the refugee situation last week – not for the first time as my congregation will testify. My sermon is here if you want to read it.
In the meantime bodies of children continue to wash up on the beaches were the Europeans go to play. That is the harsh and brutal reality. This is an issue that will take years to resolve – but we cannot ignore it. And I will use by anger constructively to do whatever little bit I can to help. After all we all sleep under the same sky. And no pictures this week – you will find enough of them elsewhere.