68.5 million. That is the number of displaced people in our world. 44,000 new people each day … forced from their homes because of conflict or fear of violence or persecution. Whether they are in another country or some other place within their homeland, they find themselves in desperate situations, without the safety and stability of their homes and families. It’s the largest number of people displaced in history, and one of the greatest humanitarian crises our world faces.
Refugees do not simply endure the discomfort of being away from home and what is familiar to them. So many of them are escaping harrowing circumstances, only to find themselves lost, lonely, and lacking basic human needs like food, water and shelter. They seek safety in the midst of often unwelcoming faces, and can count themselves among the most vulnerable in our world.
Mercifully, the church is called to serve the most vulnerable. Our scriptures even go so far as to state, time after time, that the immigrant, the orphan, the foreigner, the migrant, and the refugee are to receive special care and attention from those that would claim the name of Jesus. We can cite text after text in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy … or Matthew and Luke, 1 Peter and elsewhere that shows this to be true.
But often our worldly concerns get in the way. We wring our hands over the politics, or we allow fear to ordain choices that only God is allowed to direct. We should not (CANNOT!) as Christians, allow fear and worldly politics to dictate what God has already commanded: that we are to sacrificially serve and welcome those who have no place to call home and who have fled situations we only worry about in our darkest moments.
Evangelicals worldwide are showing increasing support for refugees as the scale and scope of the crisis becomes more clear. Christian organizations like World Relief and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries are actively supporting refugees globally. And the Church of the Nazarene has repeatedly stated its support for refugees and our churches that actively reach out to welcome and care for them.
To all of our pastors, lay people, and denominational leaders, and to others who joyfully proclaim their allegiance to the Kingdom of God as proclaimed through Jesus, we ask that you actively seek ways to support the refugees in your midst, and those in need around the world. May the Church of the Nazarene be a place where the refugee finds comfort and shelter.
By: Brandon Sipes