The Lord is Our Shepherd - and theirs
When David in Psalm 23 writes, The Lord is my shepherd”, he has an eye to the experience of the Israelites as God led them, refugees from suffering in Egypt, through the Sea of Reeds, and provided manna in the wilderness.
We can all look back to such things in our history as a town. We can say with our forebears, :"The Lord is our shepherd".
- Most of us can look back to our forebears being refugees from bombing. Harlow was built as a “Promised Land” to move to, providing employment and homes
- Others of us can look back to violence and suffering in our own lives or families, and Harlow has proven a place of safety.
- Yet again, Harlow has been for some a place of opportunity for us and our families, providing employment and provision: “milk and honey”.
Remember God's Help in the Past
The Psalms urge us to constantly remember God's help in the past. This helps us trust in the provision of The Good Shepherd for the future. It also spurs us on to be generous to others - as we have experienced generosity ourselves.
So we are especially qualified - as we see our TV screens - to urge our nation and the nations of the world to be generous and welcoming to refugees, and to be willing to count and pay the cost. The Lord is our shepherd, and is a shepherd to all refugees. This does not mean totally open borders, and our Archbishop begins to explore the complexities in his speech in the House of Lords in May 2023.
Scripture also helps us know that though there may be a cost in the present, in the long run we benefit many times over. Those who flee other nations bring riches – just as Joseph did: trafficked as a slave to Egypt, becoming a Prime Minister who saw the country through 7 years of famine.
Our Archbishop spoke recently in the House of Lords. His actual words repay careful reading as they have been misrepresented to some extent by selective Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash