Migration

Church in “the Jungle”

We have just returned from 10 days in the Black Forest. I was speaking on an Oakhall holiday. Before we went away, everybody was concerned that we would never get through, or would be horribly delayed. Operation Stack was in force on the M20; desperate migrants were raiding the Channel Tunnel; French Ferry workers were blockading the port of Calais. It seemed likely that we’d be in for a long wait. As it turned out we took 1 hour 20 minutes to get from Victoria Coach station through to Parliament Square due to a bike race in London! There were no other hold-ups either way.

If the media is to be believed then Calais is a migrant camp ready to invade Britain. David Cameron called the migrants a “swarm”; Katie Hopkins called them “cockroaches”; the Sun and the Daily Mail, with the outrage that only these nefarious little rags can generate, accused the BBC of wasting license payers’ money on filming “Songs of Praise” in a church in the so-called “Jungle”.

Both politicians and the media are making political capital out of the plight of thousands of desperate people looking to escape oppression and make a better life for themselves and their families. They have escaped from terror, imprisonment, violence and fear only to be labeled as scroungers, thieves and those who are causing a “crisis” by politicians and media in a country that should frankly be welcoming these folk with open arms.

As Christians we must fight these monstrous  forces that seek to dehumanise people by labeling them in collective terms rather than seeing them as an opportunity to show Christ’s love.

Consider this from Deuteronomy 10 (please read to the end)

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations – as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Moses carefully links the God of creation and salvation and liberation to the people of Israel’s ethics.

19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name.

Obedience to the LORD is demonstrated in how we treat the foreigner. Let’s not let the government or the media to steer our attitude to others.