|Posted by jeffdoucette on November 20, 2015 at 8:30 AM|
44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ Matthew 25:44-45
A reality check on fear of Refugee Sponsorship which has taken on a ridiculous amount of verbal wrangling came on my cousin Trent’s facebook page this week. Trent is a proud member of the Maliseet First Nation from Tobique, NB. It went as follows:
Seeing all the hate written and shared on facebook, it makes me want to say a huge shout out to all my aboriginal friends. Thank you for not having the same opinion as a lot of people have when we, the Acadians, came as refugees to this country. We were also running from people who wanted to harm us and I'm certain it must have been terrifying for all of you knowing by protecting us, you may have been putting yourselves in harms way. Instead of letting us freeze to death in this cold climate, you taught us how to live off the land. You gave us shelter and also shared whatever food you had. When the enemy found out where we were hiding, again, you could have told us to leave to protect yourselves. You didn't, you took us deeper in the forest and showed us what true humanity looks like. So today, I say thank you to all Aboriginals who showed tolerance, acceptance and love to the French Acadians who came here as refugees .
As a Christian minister my heart is deeply saddened at how fear and prejudice has taken over from the past few weeks. I am the first to acknowledge the pain and fear that might be within us after numerous attacks throughout the world over the past week especially. But fear has never been a core tenet of our faith for two thousand years. It has been there, but we have turned to scriptures and the generous response of fellow disciples to over come it.
So now all of a sudden for some reason we have allowed Refugees to become the target and response to our fear. Both here and in the US…two places that were built on the backs of stories of immigrants have pockets of people turning their backs on reason and turning to fear as an answer. And we need to remember that we are all immigrants here in Canada having been welcomed by Indigenous people as we were reminded above by Nancy. And what is painful is to see how that fear has turned to burning mosques, smashing hindu temple doors, pushing innocent Muslim mothers to the ground or insulting them on transit.
But I refuse to let that get to me or make me bitter or even to lash out at critics. Instead I will put my heart and soul and dig in all the more to respond to the gospel passage above where our faith response is put to the true litmus test. I will continue to forge deep friendships among our Muslim sisters and brothers at our local mosque. I will continue to forge friendships among our multi faith community through our COFAA group. And I will especially continue to move forward encouraging our new Beginnings: Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship group as we work to welcome to brothers 39 and 27 from Eritera in the Horn of Africa who seek peace and a new home in Canada.
I will let the government do their security vetting and Canadian Immigration do the proper work needed to ensure we are safe as they have been doing for decades. And we as a Christian community will do our part, raise money and raise awareness and gather and meet with great excitement building friendships with our partners as we prepare for the arrival of the two brothers.
I encourage us to take a deep breath, not to ignore the news, but to definitely know that some people choose to live in fear and ignorance of those that are difference. We will not be able to change them and personally I do not have the desire to waste my energy there. Instead I will work to do what I was called to do, encourage our people to respond to the stranger with generosity and love. I will live the words to the song Ubi Caritas et amor, Ubi caritas Deus ibi est…Where Charity and love is found, God is there.
Until the next time….Let us love one another.