We face perilous times. We always have. Yet, the attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad have stirred up a monstrous fear that threatens our humanity. A fear that has citizens of the world and politicians alike, responding in ways that push us further away from the global village we should be pursuing.
Simultaneously, this crisis gives the Church an exciting opportunity for incarnational ministry. It gives us a fresh look at the risk that generosity can become.
What is Incarnational Ministry?
Incarnational ministry begins with the person of Jesus. Although he was God, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped selfishly. He took the form of a servant. He took the form of one of us (Philippians chapter two). He did not allow his status as God to shield him from the suffering of man. We battle this.
Many who read this will be from affluent countries. Countries that are often shielded from the more extreme form of human suffering. Now, that suffering is landing on our shores in the form of a refugee crisis.
This ministry embraces the oneness of humanity. It is a scandalous statement of inclusivity across all imaginable prejudicial boundaries (Galatians chapter three verse twenty-eight). The politicians of America may be calling for refugee aid that discriminates but the gospel of Christ never discriminates.
Even when when this hospitality has the potential to bring certain risks As we seek to model Christ, we not only recognize risk, but can move into that risk to see the workings of redemption. Any supposed 'Christendom' based ideology that seeks to reject and suppress the outsider, religious or otherwise, is an enemy of humanity.
Avenues of Aid
Here are some ways you could explore incarnational ministry during this global refugee crisis. As we model the ministry life of Jesus, we see that all life flows from prayer. We can begin this ministry by bringing our heart closer to God's heart in prayer. As we pray we gaze into the heart of God for refugee's.
Additionally, we can use our voices to speak out against the current climate of fear mongering. Utilising the resources and information available to you at wewelcomerefugees.com; help combat this harmful trend of misinformation.
We can look for ways to invest our time and lives through various agencies. World Relief offers excellent opportunities to walk alongside refugees as they strive to make a new life in our countries. Ask around at your church about ways to connect with ministries in your area that advocate for refugees.
Pursue Reckless Love and Risky Generosity
The cross opens our hearts to the possibility of reckless love in the face of reasonable fear. Undoubtedly, terrorism is a reasonable fear. While it's unfounded that refugees present any real threat to us, it is reasonable to experience fear in times as these. We have an opportunity to embrace a risky generosity.
Christ poured out the risky generosity of God on the cross and calls us into this same pattern of losing our lives through generosity, in order that we might not lose eternity (Luke chapter 9). If we close our hearts to the stranger because of fear, we are closing our hearts to Christ (Matthew chapter 25 verse 35); and if we close our hearts to Christ we risk being amongst the goats when he returns (Matthew chapter 25 verses 41-46).
We are a global family. Our solidarity is our humanity. When we begin to forsake global solidarity amidst suffering we forsake our own humanity. And as we dehumanise the outsider, we ourselves become less human. Let's risk so that we see redemption. As I was reminded in a sermon this week,
"We can risk because we know we will be raised"
Dan Peterson lives near Chicago, Illinois, USA. He enjoys discovering old books, new places, and good coffees. His dream is to summit a mountain on every continent and have a pet pygmy marmoset.
Dan Peterson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/dan-peterson.html