Escape to Egypt
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
Matthew 2:13-15 (NRSV)
This is the account of how Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt to escape Herod's soldiers. It is eerily similar to current stories of the thousands of refugees who have fled Syria due to President Assad's murderous campaign to eliminate threats to his power. Just like long ago, there has been weeping because parents haverefused to be comforted because their children have been killed in the conflict. Over 250,000 have lost their lives and almost four million have fled to neighboring countries.
What must have gone through Joseph's mind as he weighed the route and what he would need to take to survive? He could not even take the tools of his trade as they had to travel light and quickly. How would they live once they arrived in Egypt? Who would help them? Where would they stay? Would they ever return to their homeland? The biblical account does not fill in the blanks but only says that God directed them and Joseph obeyed.
What should US faith communities do to help these Syrian refugees? The US has agreed to accept 8,000 but the International Rescue Committee urges the US to take as many as 65,000. Just as Crescent Hill Baptist has helped so many Karen refugees, there may be a new role for us in both advocacy and support for new families. How can we help them hope once more?
Our Father who protected Joseph, Mary and Jesus in their refugee journey and helped them accomplish our purpose, we pray for protection and guidance for the thousands who flee Syria and other war-torn lands. Help us to see what role we should have in providing hope and support for this new exodus of biblical proportions. Amen.