I went over to Stansfield Village Hall's film night to watch Paddington Bear. I went filled with images from our news of migrants climbing fences and clambering aboard lorries, floundering in overcrowded boats, overrunning holiday destinations, taxing border controls, and being turned away at sea as well from these shores… I found it most poignant then to be reminded by a children's story as to why this vast flood of humanity were crossing to Europe.
The fictional bear from mythical darkest Peru, had lost his parents and his uncle, his elderly aunt could no longer care for him. His aunt remembered the British Explorer who assured them of the warm welcome that would await them in Britain, and that children looking for a family could simply wait with their case on a station platform wearing a label with a plea of care. The story's premise is based not on any myth, but the scarred wound of our own history, the vast European migrations pre-and post-war, and our own attempts to provide safe keeping to London's children during the Blitz. Today's migrants have no case nor any to send them on their journey with the hopeful plea of labels attached, the only labels they have to wear are those we give them.
Whatever fears we may guard against, we should remember those whose fear is such that they have fled, those whose house, whose livelihood's, whose families have been taken from them, that they, each of them, mother, father, brother, sister, child should risk all they have left, even if only themselves, to look for welcome and opportunity, to build again that which we seek to guard, security home and family.
The test is before us this day in the gospel of Jesus' word Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother Mark 3.35. Our solidarity with Jesus - who is Messiah to the poor, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted Mathew 5.3-12 - is to fulfil the blessing He proclaimed, for these truly belong to His family, and they are God's children.
Rev'd Brin Singleton