“The World At Our Door.”
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matthew 28:16-20.
Matthew Chapter 28 is famously known for the “Great Commission.” As Christ followers, we have a God given calling to go to the ends of the earth with the love of Jesus. With that said, various circumstances around the world have created a unique opportunity for us to reach the faces that make up “the nations” right here in Lancaster County.
Lancaster County is home to one of 23 Church World Service (CWS) refugee and immigration offices in the United States. CWS, founded in 1946, is a Christian ministry that provides refugee assistance. Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict, or persecution to find safety. They often have had to flee with little more than the clothes on their back, leaving behind homes, possessions, jobs, and loved ones. CVCCS shares a special relationship with CWS as we partner to clothe Lancaster County refugees.
In 2021, the U.S. welcomed refugees from 50 countries, with the vast majority arriving from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Myanmar. The most however are from Syria. Since the Syrian civil war began, over 606,000 people have been killed, including more than 25,000 children, as per the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Bible has quite a lot to say about caring for and welcoming refugees which illustrates how we are to respond to this crisis. Here are just a few Biblical passages that speak loud and clear on the subject:
- When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself… *Leviticus 19:33-34.
- He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners… *Deuteronomy 10:18-19.
- Do not oppress a foreigner… *Exodus 23:9.
*Context: The above verses are directed to Israel but are more than applicable to us in discerning God’s heart on the matter of refugees!
- No stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler… Job 31:32.
- For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me… Matthew 25:25-36.
Therefore, what can you do to help care for those that need your love, compassion, and mercy? Here are 2 simple actions that can be done right now:
- Pray- Pray for these individuals, made in God’s image, who have been displaced of no fault of their own. To have to leave everything behind instantly is a difficult concept to grasp, especially for us living in America.
- Donate- You can donate clothing to meet this growing humanitarian need. Please go to cvccs.org/clothingbank for more information or please contact us.
You can partner with us as we care for the world, right here at our door.
Rev. Jon Barrett | Director of CVCCS