So Why Do We Involve Ourselves in Refugee Work?
The following is a preamble to the "covenants" and "memorandums of understanding" we have with our own First United Refugee Committees as well as Community Sponsorship Groups that we are partnering with.
First United is called to be faithful to God’s vision for humanity and creation as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is reflected in three commitments that are included in the “Living Ministry of First United”.
- A commitment to spiritual nurture in community
- A commitment to healing
- A commitment to social and ecological justice.
The mission statement of First United identifies that We are a concerned and daring people, proclaiming God's presence and love in our action for social and human justice. This is rooted in our core faith story received from the Scriptures, a story that reminds us of the teaching in James 1:14-17, which says my friends what is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it?...Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them “God bless you, keep warm and eat well” if you don’t give them the necessities of life? So it is witg faith. If faith stands alone and does not include actions then it is dead.
Our commitments, mission statement, and faithful action include the sponsoring of global refugees to be settled within our own city of Ottawa. These efforts are an integral part of the ministry of First United that involves our members, staff, and others associated with our faith community.
I going to have to disappoint him. I'm better than the person he thinks I am. These were the words that Omar Khadr spoke when responding to government efforts to keep him imprisoned. The “him” is particular to the Prime Minister. I going to have to disappoint him. I'm better than the person he thinks I am. When I heard those words on Thursday evening, they lodged deeply in me and they have haunted me, in a good way, since Omar uttered them.
It reminds us about a person. Wars are never about persons. The Christian gospel is about persons.
They also help me understand a key dynamic established by the emerging Christian community in the wake of the life and death of Jesus. We read about this dynamic in our Biblical story this week, a story found in chapter eight of the Acts of the Apostles
There is a fascinating detail in the way the writer of the gospel of Mark tells the story of the resurrection. This writer describes “a young man dressed in a dazzling robe” sitting where the corpse of Jesus had been.