Early last week, a former military chaplain reached out to me. He is heartsick at the suffering he sees in Afghanistan. He knows, as do I, the deep investment made by the U.S. troops, who served there over the past 20 years, as well as the profound yearning of many civilians for a freer way of life. It is another huge humanitarian crisis, arising before our eyes.
While we may champion different political and diplomatic strategies, as Christians we are called to do several things:
- Pray: I hope every congregation lifted up in worship this past weekend the crisis in Afghanistan and among the world’s refugees. Our prayers must continue. Consider joining the prayers in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s website.
- Advocate: I skipped lunch on Wednesday and took that time to contact a number of elected leaders, expressing my views as a citizen. You can find resources for your own advocacy efforts through the ELCA’s Advocacy website.
- Volunteer: As individuals and congregations we can support local resettlement efforts for refugees and asylum seekers from many nations. More information on concrete initiatives can be found through Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota’s Circle of Welcome program or Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
What we may not do as Christians is ignore the needs of neighbors – near and far. O God, strength of those who believe in you, give comfort and clarity of vision to us in this time of need. Open our ears to hear your voice and obey your will; open our hearts that true justice and wisdom may abound; and open our hands that violent resolution of conflict may cease, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen (Prayer from ELW)
In Christ’s service, Bishop Patricia Lull