Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Home: A Child's Perspective

There's a song by the Talking Heads called "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" that begins, "Home is where I want to be . . ." For some reason that opening line from a song popped in my head when I saw this photo of a Syrian refugee girl holding up a drawing she made of the house she longs to return to. Her drawing looks like every child's drawing of home. What this image showed me is the commonality of all children in the world who simply want to grow up in a home and have a normal life.  This is why I don't believe in demonizing any people or thinking of them as "other" than myself. It breaks my heart that there are over 5 million Syrian refugee children according to World
Vision. Over 20,000 children have been killed in Syria. As a Papa to two boys, this breaks my father's heart and I know it breaks the heart of our heavenly Father who sides with the dispossessed, the refugee, and those who are suffering injustice and violence. 

I look at photos of these children and think, "What if that were my child? My son? My daughter?"

How would I feel when I couldn't protect them? When I couldn't comfort them with, "Everything is going to be all right . . ."

I cannot look at these photos (and there are far worse from all of the genocide that is taking place) and not be moved with compassion, to pray, but not just pray, but to act. They desperately need food, clothing, shelter, health assistance, clean water, and hygiene items. How can I turn away from such children? From the people of Syria? From mothers and fathers? From families like my own?

Am I more like the priest and the Levite who moved to the other side of the road and pretended not to see the man suffering in the ditch? Or am I more like the Good Samaritan?

Syrians are our neighbors. Christ has commanded us to love and take care of them not to demonize them as "terrorists" just so we can absolve ourselves from having to act on their behalf. 

They are crying out. Will we listen and heed their cries?  Will we be moved beyond mere sympathy to action?  Christ did and, as his hands and feet now, so should we. 

Look at the faces of the children in these photos. They are living, breathing children like our own. they could be our sons and daughters, our granddaughters and grandsons, our nieces and nephews, our brothers and sisters. They have names and dreams of a better life. 

We must reach out to our elected officials and demand that they act on behalf of the Syrian people. We must be a voice for those who cannot have a voice right now. 

We must continue to pray for them and to pray for the peace of Syria.

We can also act by giving to organizations who help the refugees, such as World Vision (https://www.worldvision.org). There are many things we can do, but we cannot pretend that we do not know. We cannot allow ourselves to ignore the hurting of a people. As Elie Wiesel once wrote, "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." As Christians, are we an indifferent people? Or are we filled with the love, compassion and mercy that was exemplified in the Savior we claim to follow?

I am praying that the girl holding her drawing of a home up will get to be in one again, that she will know the love and happiness of her family, of their being safe and together without fear of attack. I pray that we can embrace her, her family, and her people as being a part of our own. 

And, like Gandhi, I pray this prayer:

Please join me in prayer and remember that Sunday, June 26th is National Refugee Sunday, To find out more about this day, please go to:

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