Saturday 17 July 2021

Bible Book:

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. (v. 21)

Exodus 14:5-31 Saturday 17 July 2021

Psalm 24


This is a tough passage for us today. We love the idea of a God who liberates the enslaved but we struggle with a God who might allow thousands to drown in the cause of liberation – even if God is on the side of the oppressed.

In our current context, it is as if the story of the flight through the parted sea is reversed. It is those who are fleeing towards safety who are drowning, while those pursuing them are safe in their boats, in their trafficking networks and their political strongholds. Images of dead children washed up on European shores, of flimsy, overladen boats sinking in the Mediterranean and the English Channel, of bodies lined up in a church in Lampedusa – all these force us to recognise that it is not God who causes death – whether of the oppressor or the oppressed. Rather it is greed, racism, nationalism, self-centredness and the pursuit of power.

Proposed changes to UK immigration legislation will make it harder and harder for people fleeing situations of persecution and trauma to claim refugee status. At the moment, anyone entering the UK, by whatever means, has the right to claim asylum. Proposed changes would mean that only those who arrive via approved refugee resettlement schemes will be eligible to claim. The problem is that such schemes are very limited – fewer then 1% of the world’s refugees are chosen for such schemes. Which is why desperate people resort to desperate measures to find safety for themselves and their families. At a time when more and more people are seeking to build a new life in a stable environment, away from the ravages of war, environmental degradation and economic hopelessness, the UK is seeking virtually to close its doors. 

One organisation working to support refugees is Mediterranean Hope. It is substantially funded by the Methodist (and Waldensian) churches in Italy. Mediterranean Hope are seeking to establish “humanitarian corridors” to enable migrants to travel to a country of safety without needing to resort to dangerous people smugglers. Today’s text reveals a God, who does not abandon those in need to certain death. Rather we see a God who opens up a humanitarian corridor to life, a compassionate and merciful channel through which people can move into safety, opportunity and new life.


To Ponder:

  • What you would do if you lost everything –  home, work, family – in violent conflict? Where would you go and how would you get there? What problems might you face?
  • Read more about the work of organisations who support those trying to flee to a better, safer life: Mediterranean Hope and Care4Calais
  • Write to your MP to protest about the new proposed asylum legislation.
  • Find out about Refugee Community Sponsorship Schemes, which many churches are involved in
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