The pandemic made the world’s most vulnerable more so. Half of 26 million refugees are children. Tsedal, a 15-year-old refugee from Eritrea, has sought asylum since age eight. She’s been on her own since age eleven, when her father died.
Tsedal’s friends paid a smuggler to get her out of Libya so she wouldn’t be kidnapped and trafficked again. Twelve of her raft mates died in the Mediterranean, like 18,000 others in the last five years.
We distance ourselves from this reality. We blame governments that break international law by not answering distress calls and illegally paying boats to push rafts from their coastlines. But we can’t deny the truth that all God’s children belong to each other.
Jesus’ birth narrative confronts us too. There was no room for Mary and Joseph and their unborn child. They spent Jesus’ early years in Egypt in order to deliver him from certain death. Millions of Marys, and Josephs, and their families live today.
People are working for good in Tsedal’s life. Surely some helped Mary, Joseph, and Jesus during their years as impoverished immigrants. We must wrestle with our responsibility for what happens to refugee children. We must discern what we can offer those who need safety, food, water, hope, and compassion. We must make room.
“How the Pandemic Has Affected Asylum Law and Shut Out Refugees,” All Things Considered, NPR (accessed 7 April 2021) https://www.npr.org/2021/02/10/
For whom does Christ invite you to make room? What is one way you can live with compassion today?
God of the lowly and vulnerable, we grieve the overwhelming human need in your world. We make room in our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies for the ministry of compassion. Open our hearts and hands to share what we have that others may live. Amen.