Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:5, Mark 9:37, Luke 9:48)
As I write these words in mid-July, the news media is dominated by images of children from Central America seeking refuge at our borders. Sadly, many politicians of both political parties are using this crisis to score political points against their opponents and to pander to self-centered human impulses.
For nearly 75 years, the Lutheran church has been a leader in dealing with refugee crises. That remains true today. The present crisis did not occur overnight. People who work with refugee services have seen the crisis growing for years. As the LIRS website states, “what is new is the unprecedented influx and controversy about our humanitarian response as a nation.”
I encourage you to learn more about the current situation by visiting the website of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services at www.lirs.org. There you can find out how LIRS is responding to this crisis. You can get dependable information about unaccompanied children seeking refuge and about families seeking refuge. You can find out what you can do if you want to put your faith into action on this urgent issue.
At times it may seem that there are so many different kinds of needs in our world that we feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. A good place to begin is with prayer. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you discern where you can direct your energy in a way that will be life-giving for you and for others. Pray for those whose concern is on your heart. And pray for our leaders that they may make decisions and implement policies that reflect the values of our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage (the best of which are also present in nearly all major world religions).
I thank God for the ministries which you do in your daily lives.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Wayne Matthias-Long