What Can the Church Receive from Refugees?
What the Church Offer the Refugees?
Forced displacement of individuals and the consequence of such actions is a social issue, which needs to be addressed in the current times (Macelaru 2018, p. 29). United Nations High Commissioner for the Refugees published a report in 2018, which indicated that as of 2017, there were over 68.5 million people who were displaced across the world (Macelaru 2018, p. 69). According to Macelaru (2018), these people flee from their homes because of issues linked to persecutions and violent conflicts among others. Thus, the situation of refugees is a dire one, which is getting worse and worse as time progresses. As illustrated by Stellern & Curran (2018), majority of these refugees seek shelter in the churches where they expect to be fed and helped in making different choices and changes in their lives to become successful individuals in the future. As well as being a social issue, migration is also a theological concern.
In His time, Jesus passed through a time of being a refugee who was forced in Egypt. His parents never had legal protection and He never spoke the local language. Human story is comprised of immigration since individuals have immigrated from the onset of humanity (Paterson 2018, p. 594). Several refugees flee from their home places to other areas because of natural disasters, persecution, poverty, and war (Stellern & Curran, T, 2018, p. 53). The church should consider migration as the sign of the times where it has to consider itself as a host for the refugees.
The study by Sweeden (2015) focuses on understanding the relationship that exists between the church and the refugees. Majority of the migrants find shelter in the church. Thus, the church has to be doing something to help these individuals. The introduction of new members in the church also depicts an emergence of dynamics in the church since these new persons will different cultural practices and way of life, which they may focus on implementing and practicing in their new home or place where they seek shelter (Sweeden 2015, p. 4). Refugee crisis is increasing and the church has the mandate to be the host in accordance to the various teachings in the Bible on the role of the church.
What the church offers refugees?
Macelaru (2018) argues that the church offers the refugees a new home. Christians should focus on helping the refugees by being the feet and hands of Jesus who help all the refugees who are in need. Such includes ensuring that these individuals have the capacity to meet their needs, as well as pray with them to be successful in their lives. Paterson (2018) claims that across the world, the number of refugees is increasing on daily basis. Such is because these individuals have realized that if they do not leave their current locations, they are at a risk of losing their lives. As they move to new places, they find it complex to access adequate supply of water, food, and medical aid, as well as shelter. The church has to host the refugees by ensuring that these services are provided throughout (Snyder, Brazal & Ralston p. 8). The provision of the basic needs of these individuals will be a significant step towards upholding the quality of life for the people in society. In addition, the church has to focus on evaluating the mood and attitude of other members with respect to their views towards the refugees (Paterson 2018, p. 594). Such a move ensures that the church can identify any possible source of conflict, which can significantly affect effective integration of the refugees to the new environment.
The gospel teaches people to welcome strangers. In Matthew 25:35, Jesus considered himself as a stranger who deserved to be welcomed. Thus, the church should learn the art of welcoming others (Paterson 2018, p. 594). While the gospel compels individuals to welcome strangers, there is also the instruction of expressing the love of God. In Mark 12:29-31, the Bible instructs individuals to love others as one loves himself (Acquaye, Sivo & Jones 2018). Therefore, the church has the mandate to welcome refugees and extend love to them. Through love, the church plays the role of ensuring that these individuals feel that they are important members in society and they have a place to live.
All the people deserve the right to living a dignity based life in society. The modern world is characterized of different wounds as revealed by the conflicts and imbalances that are experienced in society. Discrimination, persecution, natural calamities, and war are deprived millions of their homeland, family, employment, and home (Snyder, Brazal & Ralston 2016, p. 8). Hence, the church should embark on healing the wound that emerges from the challenges, which the refugees face in the current society. According to Snyder, Brazal & Ralston (2016), the people who feel that their rights are threatened, they need protection. It is the mandate of the church to focus on establishing measures and mechanisms of ascertaining that all the persons in their church feel safe, secure and protected (Zink 2019, p. 32). Seeking asylum is not a sin, but a way of finding protection and safety. These concepts have to be embraced by the church while focusing on delivering the best services to individuals in society.
The life of humans is sacred. All the people are created in the likeness and image of God. Thus, human dignity is not alienable. The church has to foster that spirit of ascertaining that human dignity is uphold in society to have a successful way of life for all individuals (Zink 2019, p. 32). Moreover, the church has to devote to the aspect of humanity by finding the core challenges that individuals face in their lives, which need to be solved to eliminate the high number of refugees who are registered in church (Acquaye, Sivo & Jones 2018, p. 53). Such includes provide spiritual guidance and material assistance to these populations to ensure that all the affected persons become ready and prepared to take chances in their life for a better future. The church also needs to create programs, which are specifically focused on ensuring that refugees are assisted in their process of integrating with other cultures and members of the community (Gingrich & Enns 2019, p. 9). The programs should involve systems, which illustrate to the refugees that they are great part of society and they are valued as members of the community.
The church has the mandate to educate the refugees on matters of the storyline of the Bible. The information that is included in the Bible is that people win because Christ won the victory over death, sin and grave. Thus, the refugees need to understand that the current situation they are facing is not permanent (Swinton 2007, p. 176). The circumstance is temporary and individuals should aim at achieving all the best in their activities. Further, the church should educate the refugees to prepare them for the future and current job markets. The training acts as a way of indicating to the refugees that there is a better tomorrow because they gain skills and knowledge on how to move on in their life (Acquaye, Sivo & Jones 2018, p. 57). The church has to dispel all forms of fears that the refugees and other members of the church may have regarding the changes experienced because of the migration (Snyder 2016, p. 8). The focus is to ascertain that individuals understand what is expected of them in society and focus on doing the best to become successful in life.
Once refugees get to their host, which is the church, they have no other hope apart from the assistance that is provided by the church (Zink 2019, p. 32). Therefore, it is the mandate of the church to ensure that the refugees get an opportunity to access facilities and services, which they need to start new lives. Such includes providing a link to the refugees on how they can access basic items, which they need for their lives. Moreover, the church has to do this while extending unconditional love to the refugees to encourage them of better things in the future (Ahn 2019, p. 5). Such has to be done as the church comprehends the theology of migration and focuses on ensuring that all migrants have an opportunity to enjoy life in the new environments.
Refugees often face post-traumatic stress disorder among other conditions as a result of the change in their natural environment and way of life (Acquaye, Sivo & Jones 2018 p. 57). As such, the church has the mandate of ensuring that religious counseling is provided to these individuals to ensure that they can adapt to the new environment without significant challenges and complications in their life. The counselors should focus on addressing the issues of trauma. Acquaye, Sivo & Jones (2018) claims that there should also be integration between religious or spiritual issues with other worldviews of the refugees to ascertain that these individuals have the chance to find a good place, which they can call home. Hence, the church has to play a significant role in ascertaining that individuals obtain the best religious counseling and therapy to make them successful persons in society.
Zink (2019) indicates that the refugee crisis and migration, which is experienced across the world has to be examined through the theological lens. Such is because the migration is a clear reflection of the Bible as God’s people history throughout the ages. God has divine power on the world and human history is characterized of migration (Zink 2019, p. 32). Since the church is focused on discussing issues of migration that affects individuals in society, it is important for this institution to ensure that it provides a mechanism to help the refugees (Acquaye, Sivo & Jones, p. 57). The church has to be the host who offers the refugees hope for the future and redemption of individual life and assurance of a better tomorrow in the future.
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