“The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil.’”
We come to the end of our journey with Christian today. As we think back on the story he has shared with us, where do we notice the Lord leading us home?
Having spent another 8 months in Colnbrook, Christian was again released back into the community, his detention having served no purpose.
With the help of JRS and other charities, he has managed to find a legal aid solicitor who will take on his case. Since leaving detention, Christian has stayed in touch with JRS and now volunteers at our offices while he waits for a decision to be made on his fresh asylum claim.
“Volunteering with JRS is so good, It makes me feel like I’m not wasting time. I help in the kitchen preparing lunch for everyone and making sure everything is ready for the Day Centre.”
Although Christian has faced many challenges on his journey, he, like many of our refugee friends, hopes to one day be able to contribute and participate in society, and offer to others the support he has received.
“I still want to contribute – even after being detained, and after the way the Home Office has treated me. It’s important to contribute.
“When I get my papers – God willing – I’d like to visit people in detention like I was visited. I’d like to encourage someone in detention like I was encouraged, to give them reassurance and to take away some of their stress.”
An Invitation to Prayer
We invite you to take some time with Christian’s journey and today’s readings, and join Sr. Rose Mary, a volunteer with the JRS Detention Outreach team, in prayer and reflection.
The Lord says this: “I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone, I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil.” This is the dream of many who have fled their homes and countries today in the midst of war and destruction – to see their own soil again.
We see that this might not be possible for many and Christian came to the UK, prepared not to see his homeland again, for he knows, as did the prophet Ezekiel, that God was saying that He would be their sanctuary and be with them always wherever they are. Their home is in God.
We also see how many who have experienced this exile begin through generosity to create spaces of hospitality for others. Christian helps with the preparation of shared meals at JRS, and this is one of the ways we are able to help those we welcome feel at home, in spite of all the difficulties that they face.
We pray that many who have left their homeland and soil will find a sanctuary where ever they settle and be received with graciousness. God like an everlasting Shepherd will turn their mourning into joy, console them and give gladness for grief that they have encountered along their journey. (Jer 31: 13.)
Sr. Rose Mary Harbinson RNDM
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