The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) invites churches to participate in the upcoming World Refugee Sunday on June 17 and 24 and be inspired to action by Jesus’ parable of welcoming the stranger. Together with the Refugee Highway Partnership and many other contributors, WEA has prepared a rich resources site with contemporary worship song ideas, prayers, devotionals, personal refugee stories, and topic-relevant sermon outlines for children, youth and adult services, plus a conversation-inspiring 30-minute film ‘The Peace Between’, available free of charge.
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” is what the King in Jesus’ parable in Matthew chapter 25 says to those he welcomes to his Heavenly reign. Perplexed about hearing what they apparently had done for the King, they inquire: “when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you?” To which the King responds: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
In the context of over 65 million refugees and displaced people globally, Jesus’ parable becomes alive in the reality that so many local churches witness right in their own neighborhoods. Facing an unknown future, those fleeing war, persecution and famine often struggle with fear, insecurity and trauma in addition to lacking basic needs such as food and shelter.
The World Refugee Sunday is an opportunity for churches to reflect on the practical implications of the numerous Biblical stories where people were displaced and in need of refuge because of conflict, natural disasters or persecution, among the many others: Jacob, Moses, David, Peter, John, and even our Lord Jesus in His infancy.
“God’s repeated call throughout Scripture to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien, coupled with Jesus identifying himself with the hungry, the thirsty and the stranger compels us as believers today to respond courageously and generously to the foreigners we may meet at our doorsteps,” said Bp Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the WEA.
Offering a challenge for this year’s World Refugee Sunday, Comm. Christine MacMillan, WEA’s Associate Secretary General for Public Engagement who also heads up WEA’s Refugee Task Force, asks: “Those of you reading this media release are encouraged to imagine 65 million persons looking for home. Yes, refugees and forcibly displaced people who live life without certainty for a future. Is there a possibility that the heart of the Church resonates with God’s love for the world? No strangers in God’s house.”
“As you consider the resources for World Refugee Sunday, become a resource yourself. A resource that prays for the strangers we are called to welcome – no longer strange to us. A resource whose prayers go to work with every intention to widen the door of home beyond World Refugee Sunday,” she adds.
> To find out more, visit refugeehighway.net/world-refugee-sunday.html today.
> Also visit peacebetweendialogue.com to register for free access to the 30-minute film produced by the European Evangelical Alliance, including a variety of material and resources to host discussion events.
Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to establish and strengthen regional and national Evangelical Alliances, who in turn enable their national Church to advance the Good News of Jesus Christ and effect personal and community transformation for the glory of God. For more info, e-mail [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.