Pray for the refugees
This week I’ve been reading a thorough explanation of the judiciary system in the Israel of the Bible in Jonathan Burnside’s book God, justice and society. People with authority, such as judges, priests or kings, were expected to do justice according to divine principles. However, it didn’t always work out the way God had planned.
Sometimes, some people misused their authority in order to commit a crime. This was the case of King David, who ordered the killing of Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11). It was also the situation of Ahab, when Naboth was killed (1 Kings 21). In each case, as the offender was the highest judge of the nation, the only one who could still defend the victims was God Himself. And as He always wanted to defend the poor and the oppressed (Psalm 140:13), He intervened each time by punishing the guilty. Reading these lines and keeping in the back of my mind the attitude that European authorities have toward refugees, it was not too complicated for me to establish an analogy.
Almost three months ago, Jeff Fountain wrote a weekly word with the title Europe on trial. He compared two different reactions toward the flow of refugees in Europe: that of erecting a barbed wire wall along the Serbian border as done by Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban with that of opening the doors as done by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Both talked about Christian values for two very different reasons. Angela Merkel was aware of the moral duty to take care of the foreigners and oppressed. For this reason, she was awarded this week as the personality of the year by Time magazine.
On the contrary, Orban argued that the coming of refugees would put at stake the Christian values of our continent. The irony is that the Hungarian response was actually itself an attack against Christian values. Since then, many European nations have followed the Orban way. The terrorist attacks in Paris last month, even though they were caused by people of European citizenship, have in any case managed to serve the cause of those who don’t want refugees in Europe. In answer to the Parisian tragedy, the European Union seems to want to close the borders, instead of welcoming the refugees.
Why would a God who intervened in Biblical times by giving justice to the poor not do the same today?
When I look at the latest news, it seems to me that unfortunately, our continent is quite ripe to be judged by the Almighty. There is indeed no reason why God would not defend the poor today as he did in the past.
A spiritual battle
All of the above could leave us with a deep feeling of being powerless. However, in the face of this kind of attitude, Christians are called to walk against the flow more than ever. In Greece many organisations are working day and night to save the refugees reaching the coastline. Everywhere in Europe, local Christian communities from all denominations, gather to provide for the material and spiritual needs of refugees.
Even though these initiatives are very important, they would have quite a limited impact if they were not moving ahead with prayer. For in both the political realm and the field itself, the battle is first of all spiritual.
Kari & Maija Tassia, YWAM Europe refugee work conveners, call to set apart each last Monday of the month to pray specifically for the refugees.
When asked how we could pray specifically for them, here is their answer: “What is the most important is to pray that the Church would wake up to take its place. If the Church is reformed and finds its calling maybe God will give us a revival in Europe. Also the salvation and healing for the refugees are key points for prayer.”
So more than ever, let’s pray for the refugees.