This child was yours and he was mine

Published by Giles Goddard on Thu, 10 Sep 2015 18:46
Vicar's Blog

This week's blog is by Jeff, and is an extract from his longer reflection at our new 6pm service on Tuesdays, Tuesday Vespers.  

Like so many of us, I was affected hugely by that photograph of three year old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey.  But I was even more affected by the impact that the publication of this photograph seems to have had on the world, apparently even changing the position of the UK government towards admitting Syrian and Afghan refugees.  It made me wonder why, when we have seen photographs and videos of thousands of migrants trying to force their way across barriers in Calais and Hungary, or hanging on to precarious small boats trying to cross the Mediterranean, it was only the image of one small, lifeless child that touched the consciences of Europe – and maybe the world.

Here are two secular reflections on the photograph of Aylan Kurdi and the migrant situation:  

The first is by Rick Feneley, The Sydney Morning Herald

"The boy lay face down on the shore near the Turkish resort town of Bodrum. In his red T-shirt and shorts, it was a pose familiar to any parent. He might have been sleeping.  Of course, he wasn't.  Peter Bouckaert, the director of emergencies at Human Rights Watch, wrote in his blog: "What struck me the most were his little sneakers, certainly lovingly put on by his parents that morning as they dressed him for their dangerous journey …… Staring at the image, I couldn't help imagine that it was one of my own sons lying there drowned on the beach.

That is the power of this picture. Even while he remained nameless, this child was yours and he was mine."

And here is a blog post by Gillan Scott on the Archbishop Cranmer website, which focuses on combining politics and religion

"This sudden pricking of our national conscience shows how hypocritical our attitudes have been, but if it takes the heart-rending images of a single boy’s death to finally open our eyes to the truth, then so be it. Most of us will never get close to having the faintest idea what it’s like to see our country torn apart and to lose everything beyond the clothes on our bodies. Nor will we be forced to abandon our homes and cities in order to have a chance of saving our lives. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to show compassion toward those who have had to do all that, and more.

Jesus is the most famous refugee of all time, having been taken as a child to Egypt in order to escape Herod’s plot to murder him. God also specifically called the Jewish nation to take care of the foreigners living among them.

The time for us to remember our responsibilities and re-evaluate our position is overdue."

Many thanks to all who have given or taken other action in support, so far.  South Bank Churches (of which we are a member) is presently organising a further response – a collection of goods and money, and also opportunities for volunteering help - focused around Harvest, which at St John's is on Sunday 27th Sept.  More about this on Sunday from Giles, but in the meantime, please pray for all those forced to leave their homes, and all who are caught up in the violence…

Jeff 

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