The tragedy of refugees from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere fleeing their homes, taking their families and little else, is currently with us. The dilemma of how to best deal with this several hundred thousands of people problem is still unsolved by governments and organisations. Meanwhile these human beings travel north west through south east Europe and the Balkans, hoping eventually to reach a new life in a safe country, and who can blame them for their will to survive, and for the sake of their children?
One of the things that has grabbed me is the difference between many blundering governments and many local people organising direct help.
People in Iceland have offered to take in 11,000 people in to their homes, way more than the 50 their government decided on. One family have a ship in the Mediterranean and spend all their time searching for drowning refugees. People in towns and villages on the Hungarian train line towards Austria feed, give water, hand toys and provide clothes and nappies.
This is ‘the power of one’ except that it is thousands of ordinary people sharing what they have with those who have almost nothing but their will. Yes, we are a long way from it all here in Australia – except that we are involved in our own refugee handling situation – but we do not have to be far away on the other side of the world with our prayers and
We live in a tremendously individualised world, where people want to take up more of their own responsibility for what they do and to happen in their lives and those of others. No doubt this has several downsides to it, but it has a definite upside. When people are led by their own conscience and what they believe is right and true, they do not follow the dictates of others like a flock of sheep only doing what they are told.
Taking responsibility and focusing on a life of charity – love for others – seems very close to the kingdom of heaven.