Monday, January 19, 2015

Not At Home

Reflecting on My Holidays

Driving out of Michigan in order to be ahead of Storm Hector, I got as far as Rocky Top, Tennessee the first night.

I had a lot of time to reflect on the Holiday Season. 

If you are like me, part of the holiday joy is being with family, carrying on family traditions. 

How would it be different if…?

How would your holiday have been different if when you were five years old, your grandparents on both sides, your parents, aunts and uncles had lost their homes and livelihoods?  Pondering this reality of the Palestinians who are my age helps me start to understand the devastation of being a refugee. 

Holy Family-Refugee Family

We have just celebrated the incarnation of God into God’s creation.  

This is a wonder that I do not have my head around yet!  I believe it, but it is beyond understanding.

Actually, the Holy Family was an internally displaced refugee family at Jesus’ birth.  They were displaced because the Roman Empire, then controlling things and wanting to collect family taxes, required them to go to Bethlehem.  Shortly after, the Holy Family became a refugee family in Egypt. 

Empires, Greed and Power and Control are Still Creating Refugees! 

Thousands of Palestinians became refugees when forced from their homes in 1948 because of government decisions.  Millions still are refugees because of government policies denying the right of return as required under International Law. 

One example of where the 1948 Palestinian refugees resettled was Yarmouk camp in Syria. 
The UN picture below shows what happened there in 2014.

While many have been uprooted yet again, the second picture shows what is still happening as of January 2015.

Refugees in Gaza
Most of the people in Gaza are 1948 resettled refugees.  We know from the news the devastation those refugees live with.  96,000 Palestinian refugee dwellings were damaged or destroyed during this summer's conflict, according to the technical assessment completed by UNRWA on December 15, 2014.   

Are you giving? Advance Project # 14908A – Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees- Middle East Council of Churches 

Refugees on Our Border

We do not have to go overseas to see refugee needs.

Are we giving? Methodist Border Friendship Commission is Advance #10759O - Promoting friendship, fellowship, evangelism and mission along the U.S. and Mexico border

As People of good will, we must make our voices heard on behalf of refugees.

Is God hearing our voice in prayers for refugees? 

Our Government policies could make a difference for refugees at home and around the world.  Are we contacting our elected officials, letting our voices of love be heard? 

Do we hear Jesus’ voice saying,

“If you do it for the least of these you do it for me?”