Yesterday, Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK, preached at Evensong at St. John’s College Cambridge. Sarah, a graduate of St. John’s, was invited to preach as part of ‘Thinking Allowed: Christian Engagement in Public Debates’, a series of sermons that takes a deeper look at the Christian contribution to current debates.
As Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service UK, Sarah spoke on the Christian values of offering hospitality to refugees and how giving hospitality is itself a gift. In her sermon, Sarah said, “Because it is the hungry stranger, who bears God’s promise; the one who makes demands on us, who teaches us how to rely on God; the one who asks for hospitality, with whom we share our food, who may ultimately be the one who saves our life.”
Drawing on the story of Elijah and the widow (1 Kings 17:7-16), Sarah spoke of the current reality that the majority of displaced people are hosted by neighbouring countries in comparison to the small number of refugees resettled in Britain, of the generous welcome for refugees in the poorest of communities as opposed to the richest. Sarah continues, “Like the poor widow who feeds Elijah, this generosity amidst scarcity is a challenge to our self-centredness amidst abundance.”
Speaking of her personal experience of accompanying refugees, Sarah speaks of the lessons learnt when we listen to refugees and the inspiration they can be on our own lives. Sarah finishes by saying “…that in coming to know refugees as people, the work of healing and transformation goes both ways. And the work is a privilege. And a gift.”
You can listen to a recordong of the sermon: ‘Thinking Allowed: Christian Engagement in Public Debates’