World Refugee Sunday
Sometime ago I came upon the expression, “Evangelism is one dog telling another dog where to find bones”. The expression struck a chord within me at the time because it is quite unthinkable that a dog would introduce another to bones. In fact, the opposite is true but only because dogs treasure bones that much. This understanding of evangelism is neither cajoling others to our way of thinking nor competing with other religions at the numbers game. Rather, it is about following Jesus in his radical offer of something life-changing.
At the commencement of his public ministry, Jesus invited others to join him on that ‘bone-finding’ mission. Jesus’ ‘bone’ was a pattern of faith and life, defined by values of social equity, generosity of spirit and justice for all. This founded alternative communities to the Roman Empire. His message was a call to repentance and an invitation to follow Him. Jesus’ invitation was to stir a redirection of one’s course by causing the individual to see the value of this alternative lifestyle.
In today’s reading there is a definition of evangelism, connected to the anxiety, fear and insecurity of the disciples of Jesus. That is life-flourishing good news. The disciples, along with Jesus, left the crowd in search of a quiet place. On their journey they encountered a fierce and ferocious storm that dislocated their composure and threatened to alter the course of their dream. Jesus brought calm to the situation and invited his disciples to rise above the fear and insecurity that could steal their dream and overwhelm their determination.
As we observe World Refugee Day, we are reminded that the evangelical mission is to help redirect the world’s death-dealing course by looking and pointing to the God of life. Life for refugees all over the world is at stake; and like the disciples in today’s reading, they question whether anyone, including God, cares that they perish. May the gospel of hospitality and generosity be proclaimed and practiced as the alternative to hostility and greed, that we may indeed care and seek communities where refugees might be safe.
Collin Cowan, CWM General Secretary
We pray that the evangelical fervour of the church would be rekindled in the midst of life’s pain; and that those who are bruised by life’s circumstances would find renewed hope for a life-flourishing future. We remember displaced people who seek refuge from political, economic or social discrimination and persecution.
Church of South India
Pray for the elimination of violence against women and girls in India, especially for the protection of Dalit women and girls who are often victims of gang rape and brutal killings.
Pray for the eradication of the issues faced by Indian women such as dowry killings, subordination in families, low salary, harassment in workplaces, lack of opportunity for education and domestic violence.
Pray for the Church of South India to continue to promote gender equality in church and its ministry by giving more space for women to serve as ordained women pastors and consecrated women bishops.
Image caption: An Afghan mother hugs her child and weeps with relief on arrival on the Greek island of Lesvos
Image credit: Giles Duley, UNHCR