The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

World Refugee Week

In our chapel services this week we have been reminded of the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. The world has some 25 million refugees but fewer that 1 percent get the chance to resettle in a safer country. We remember that refugees are ordinary people like us, but they have survived and escaped from persecution and violence. As we listen to the stories of refugees who were fortunate enough to settle in Australia, we acknowledge their positive and lasting contribution to our society.

Building a new life, in a new country has many challenges. Refugees can experience a wide range of problems including isolation, anxiety and poverty. As Christians, what should we do to help refugees feel welcome and valued in our community?

In the Old Testament, amongst the laws brought by Moses to the people of Israel, is an unequivocal instruction from God:

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus, 19:33-34)

It would seem to me that we should at least offer hospitality and kindness to our refugee neighbours. We would do also do well to remember that important, but often overlooked, chapter of the nativity story in which the baby Jesus and his parents flee to Egypt to escape King Herod. When God chose to enter into life as the most vulnerable of human beings – an infant refugee – what point was God making?