January 15, 2017
Text: Isaiah 49: 1-7
God’s purpose in claiming and equipping the servant is not only right relationship and justice for those nearby, but is a call that extends in scope as a light to the nations and a reach of God’s salvation to the end of the earth. It is the same purpose for which God called, equipped, and empowered the servant from before her birth through now.
In 2016, more people in the world are forcibly displaced from their homes than at any time since World War II. That number (66 million) is growing daily. The world currently does not have the structures or processes in place to be able to accommodate that many uprooted people in ways that honors their humanity. Refugee camps created by the United Nations as temporary shelters have become lifelong warehouses. Cities in countries nearby conflict zones are unable to integrate new-comers who are denied the legal permission to be employed or go to school. Nations with resources have closed borders to those fleeing violence and hopelessness out of their own fears. This state of permanent temporariness of people leads to greater instability in the lives of individuals and in global relationships. It does not honor the common humanity we share.
In the United States, since current generations were born, churches have been resettling refugees within our communities as a way to embody right relationship with God and justice with our neighbor. Through experiences of receiving and of providing welcome, churches have been equipped and empowered to extend extravagant welcome, especially with those receiving the least welcome from others. UCC Youth in College Station, Texas have taken seriously God’s call as prophet and servant. They call all of us together to be God’s light to the nations so that God’s abundance (salvation) may reach to the end of the earth. Their video submitted for the UCC’s Public Voice Initiative in December for Syrian Refugees is below.