Be an Instrument of God’s Peace:
Reflections from a Year of Helping an Afghan Refugee Family
While it’s now more than a year since I joined the then brand-new Christ Church Refugee Ministry, I’ve only just figured out that this effort, and the work we do in it, is fundamentally about God’s peace. Not about all of God’s peace, of course – there are so many, many different aspects of God’s peace – but for sure at least one piece of God’s many-faceted peace.
I realize now that we have been, and are, instruments of God’s peace when we have:
Set up a new home, soup-to-nuts, for a family who fled with nothing into a new land
Made sure that Afghan spices and plenty of rice were stocked in their pantry so they could make familiar foods
Used Google translate to help communicate across enormously different languages, so that understanding could better go in both directions
Made sure the family had a way of identifying their volunteer drivers so they could feel safe getting into a vehicle
Made sure to respect the family’s Muslim faith so they would never, ever think we were trying to make them change their religion
Worked hand-in-hand with Jews and Quakers and other Episcopalians, learning about and honoring our different ways of approaching God and coming to understand that we are more alike than we are different
Prayed with Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Christians of other denominations for refugees across the world
Paid for rent and phones and computers and utilities and groceries and school supplies and new coats and pants and shoes
Had the tough conversations about financial stability and counted the pennies
Mentored and coached and tutored and pulled our hair out (ever try helping an Afghan high-schooler understand Hamlet?!?)
Wept with our new Afghan friends over their sorrows and rejoiced with them over their triumphs
(to list only a few, a very few, of the multitude of things the volunteers in the interfaith Refugee Ministry have done and continue to do for and with “our” Afghan family)
When it comes right down to it, I have learned that God’s peace is about love, and how that love builds bridges. Love for the stranger and for the friend. Love for the broken and for the joyous. Love for those in need and for those with plenty. Love for the unknown and the known. Love when it involves hard work and when it involves parties. Love when it feels impossible and when it is easy. Love when we want to quit and when we feel we could go on without stopping. Love that enables us to build a bridge over any divide, and so to bring God’s peace to those no longer on another side.
Thanks be to God.
~Submitted by Ann
Readings for Today: