Recently I have been convicted of something. I’ve been hearing the stories of the Syrian refugees and have heard God saying to me “Do Something!” Now this crisis has been going on for a long time, but I paid no attention to it. And granted, there are thousands of crises out there that I’ve paid no attention to. And, Lord knows, I have enough crises to deal with. I’m a solo pastor of a small, aging church. I took some vacation time and the church totally respected that. For the first summer in two years I was able to take some time off without having to cut it short, or be “on call”. My congregation knew I needed some time away (and a huge “thank you” to them). And as I returned, there were plenty of crisis moments – multiple surgeries, hospitalizations and the like.
But there is nothing like the Syrian refugee crisis. And for some reason, this was the time that God opened my ears, eyes and heart. I am convicted that we must act and must act now. And our actions cannot just be “here is a check.” We, as a congregation, must get involved.
I’ve asked our congregation to consider how to respond. And on Sunday, I will do something I’ve never done before – devote the sermon to this issue. I have charged them before, but not on this level. I am asking the congregation to join me on this. To do something for God’s children in a way we have not done before (at least during my time here).
On one hand I think I am risking myself. What if I “rub someone the wrong way”? What if I “tick off” someone? But on the other hand I think about what it must be like to be forced from your home. And as a church leader, my role is to push us into action. The church must respond to this crisis. This is not about liberal versus conservative agendas. This is not about the latest issue within the church. This is about life. The lives of so many people who have no place to live, no place to work, no place to worship because they have been forced out of their homes. And this is about God. What does God say regarding refugees? What does God say about people? We say “God is love.” Well it is time to prove it. It is time to “put up or shut up.” It is time for action.
Brothers and sisters, please pray for me. Pray that I deliver the sermon that has been bubbling inside of me. Pray that our local congregation can do something to help someone in this crisis. Pray that I am brave enough to follow through with this. But most important, please pray for those refugees. Pray for the people truly suffering. Pray for a response.