Only a British tabloid!
Alongside a seemingly triumphant headline of MIGRANTS WILL BE TURNED BACK TO FRANCE they have a photograph of a delighted, if disbelieving, Emma Raducanu, the nation’s tennis new hero after her phenomenal US Open victory.
The clue is in the name. Emma is not one of the Hartlepool, Swansea, Derry or Glasgow Raducanus. She is the Toronto born daughter of a Chinese mother and a Romanian father. In the final Raducanu beat Leylah Fernandez a Canadian teenager born in Montreal to a Filipina and Ecuadorian.
There in one tennis match that screams to everyone paying attention that migration is the way of the world. It always has been. It is the way of history. It is how I ended up here.
Migration is also the way of the Bible. From Genesis though to the latter stages of the New Testament people are on the move, the people of God are on the move. Jesus was a refugee, on the move, at the very crux of the Salvation History narrative! The Exodus, another movement of migration, was a major storyline too.
It is us understandable that God would understand such human migration and therefore into his advising on how to live life safely with care and compassion would include laws on how we deal with the stranger, coming into our communities or nations. It is always with care - the love of God.
As a follower of Jesus, and as a minister in a congregation, I am always aware of Jesus example in Matthew 25 where he lays out how you’ll recognise a sheep of his flock. By their welcome to the stranger and meeting the needs of the thirsty and hungry. This is the business that you’ll find Jesus followers, as well as work with the sick, the prisoner and the naked, being busy about.
This is why Fr Martin Magill and myself decided that we would choose Embrace NI as the NGO to benefit from our Big 60th Birthday Fundraise.
Embrace NI has been helping the churches across our denominations to care for the migrant, refugee, asylum seeker, stranger for 25 years.
They have an emergency fund which our Fundraise will hopefully healthily replenish BUT they also do an amazing job at resourcing churches both in Biblical teaching and pragmatic application.
Please check their website https://www.embraceni.org for more details of those Biblical and practical resources and some exciting seminars they are doing.
And it would bless Fr Martin and my heart if you could feel able to donate to our Big 60th Birthday Fund - https://www.embraceni.org/donations/
There might be an Emma Raducanu out there but be sure there will be another human that God loves preciously who needs the welcome help of Jesus followers rather than being turned back to France without a Jesus welcome.