Thursday, 16 August 2012

Newsletter Reflection for Sunday 19 August, 2012: Welcoming the Stranger

Jesus taught his followers to welcome strangers in need. And even more than welcome them, to recognise Christ himself in those people. "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me" (Matthew 25:35-36). This bundle of physical, psychological and spiritual neediness is very familiar. It's right there on our big, flat-screen televisions, as we watch people huddled together on dangerous vessels approaching Australian territorial waters. It's me, Christ here says to his followers, and I need your help. 

Good morning,

In the past week, the federal government has decided to process asylum seekers off-shore.  Assembly President Andrew Dutney has described this decision as both a grave moral failure, and as decidedly unchristian.

It could be argued that it is a very long time since Australia could be considered a “Christian” country in any sense, and that Christian faith and values do not have a part to play in public policy. But on the other hand, Christians vote, and in a democracy we are as much entitled to an opinion as anyone.  And we are entitled to be outraged when our elected leaders make decisions on our behalf which are so in conflict with our beliefs.

There must be a better way to discourage people from risking their lives in unseaworthy boats, than to refuse to welcome the people who were driven to such desperate means.  This decision seems to be mostly aimed at punishing people who are already victims.

Grace and peace

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