Jesus was born into poverty and was very soon began a refugee. His parents took him to a foreign land, a land where people spoke in a different tongue. They took him there so that the swords of a desperate man wouldn’t take their young child’s life.
The image of Aylan Kurdi death is probably now almost as well know as that of Jesus’.
Death changes things, it changes how people view things, it changes how people deal with things, it changes how the world without that individual goes on.
Aylan is not the only person to have died fleeing the horrors of Syria, for weeks now the reports of drownings, there have also been other pictures, but this picture well ….
This picture of one child, in a position all too familiar to any mother who has watched her child sleeping, has become an image of death and lost hope. Someone, as some point, in some media outlet, during the week – I can not remember who at this moment in time – likened the impact of this image to that of Kim Phúc after a Napalm Attack during the Vietnam War in 1972. Just as that image change peoples opinions so, this individual stated, would this one of Aylan.
There has certainly been a whole lot of activity going on Social Media about how to respond, people have a desire to do something and for that I am glad. People are now saying let in the refugees, they can stay in my home. Others are collecting donations to be transported to camps in Calais and elsewhere and organising convoys to transport the goods. Still others are fund raising, I have seen notification for all sorts of concerts from punk to classical, people making things, selling things, doing things. And then there are the vigils. The number of people involved in these things are doubtless far higher than they were before that image from a Bodrum beach.
As the angels weep for Aylan and the others who have died in their attempt to reach freedom and safety, I have heard of many others shedding tears, tears fall when someone dies, but our faith teaches us that even in death there can be hope for a better future. The image of that refugee who died on a cross 2,000 years ago brought hope to the whole world, can this image of a refugee who died in the dark night time waters of the sea bring hope to others desperate find safety and freedom for their children, to find a new future.
This Sunday All Saints had already earmarked as part of our annual Stewardship campaign, but there was no way I was ignoring the despair which has driven parents to risk dangerous crossings in the hope their children will have a safe future. After all isn’t that we all want for our children, for them to live in safety and be happy? Christian Stewardship has a whole lot to do with how we react to these events, Christian Stewardship has a whole lot to do with how we react to each and every world issue. So I, like many others, today preached about arcing that spark between our faith and the needs of the world. (Although I might have been the only one who talked about it with regard to Stewardship!)
If you would like to hear what I had to say you can listen to an MP3 of the sermon over on the Church web site here.