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Mercy for migrants

By 4th August 2022No Comments
Migrants crossing the channel into the UK on boats

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.’ (Luke 6: 37).

It’s the beginning of August and already migrant crossings across the Channel are making the news again. It’s become a yearly occurrence now, that whilst migrant crossings happen throughout the year, the media tend to focus on them more in August. This may be partly because the better weather means that the numbers crossing increase at this time of year, and partly because parliament is in recess meaning that there is less ‘politics’ to fill our news feeds with.

These media stories are designed to provoke a response in us; a judgment or opinion on whether people should be making the dangerous crossing, and what sort of reception they should get upon arrival. The very word ‘migrants’ also creates a reaction in many people, and social media is full of opinions on whether people should be allowed to enter and stay in the UK. At Welcome Churches, we’ve been talking about how we should respond to all of this. What should the Church’s response be to these news stories, which are likely to continue throughout the next month at least? These news stories can provoke us to form opinions of the people they are talking about – consciously or subconsciously. People we know nothing about and don’t understand.

How then, when we hear of tragic stories of people making desperate journeys across the English Channel to get to the UK, do we invoke a non-judgmental, non-condemning response in ourselves? How do we respond with God’s Kingdom culture and values?  How do we encourage Kingdom culture within our church communities too?

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.’ (Luke 6: 37). 

Jesus’ words have significant implications for how we respond to the news stories we hear. All of us are on a journey to better understand and accept people with different backgrounds and experiences to our own. People who may have made decisions that don’t necessarily make sense at first appearance. This sort of response requires prayerfulness in lots of different ways. Depending on our church background, that prayerful response may look different. Some of us may think about bringing a prayer meeting together, praying especially for all those seeking refuge in the UK at this time. Others may choose to light a candle, to remember those making dangerous journeys. And there is no end to the creative ways that we can pray and bring these people to God.

Ultimately, our prayer at Welcome Churches is that we, as followers of Jesus, will make less judgments on the situations and circumstances of people traveling across the Channel to the UK. We want to continually challenge ourselves, to ultimately let mercy triumph over judgment (James 2:13). 

This is our own personal journey as well as a collective journey  as church communities to think through and respond to how  we might show mercy to migrants today?

Welcome Churches’ exists to see every refugee welcomed by their local church. We would love for you to join in with our movement! Could you consider giving regularly each month to the work of Welcome Churches, to see every refugee arriving in the UK welcomed? Click here to donate today.

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