Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Refugees and Sweden: My perspective PART ONE

I need to give a little background to my thinking on this subject. My thinking is conditioned on my having been a soldier in The Salvation Army for over 60 years. I have been heavily influenced by the early salvationists, from the Founder and Army Mother, to their son General Bramwell Booth and their daughter General Evangeline Booth.

First a quote from the Founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth “I am glad you are enjoying yourself. The Salvationist is a friend of happiness. Making heaven on earth is our business. Serve the Lord with gladness is one of our favorite mottos. So I am pleased that you are pleased! But amidst all your joys don't forget the sons and daughters of misery. Do you ever visit them? Come away and let us make a call or two. Here is a home, six in family, they eat and drink and sleep and sicken and die in the same chamber. Here is a drunkard’s hovel, void of furniture, wife a skeleton, children in rags; father maltreating the victims of his neglect. Here are the unemployed, wandering about, seeking work and finding none. Yonder are the wretched criminals, cradled in crime, passing in and out of the prisons all the time. There are the daughters of shame deceived and wronged and ruined, travelling down the dark incline to an early grave. There are the children, fighting in the gutter, going hungry to school, growing up to fill their parent’s places. Brought it all on themselves, you say? Perhaps so, but that does not excuse our assisting them! You don’t demand a certificate of virtue before you drag some drowning creature out of the water. Nor the assurance that a man has paid his rent before you deliver him from the burning building! But what shall we do? Content ourselves by singing a hymn, offering a prayer or giving a little good advice? NO! Ten thousand times no! We will pity them. Feed them. Reclaim them. Employ them. Perhaps we shall fail with many. Quite likely. But our business is to help them all the same. And that in the most practical, economical and Christ-like manner. So let us hasten to the rescue for the sake of our own peace, the poor wretches themselves, the innocent children, and the Saviour of us all. But you must help with the means. And as there is nothing like the present, who in this company will lend a hand by taking up the collection?”

Then there are the words of the Army Mother, Catherine Booth, who said “A salvation that does not lead to service is no salvation at all.”

There are the words of the second General of The Salvation Army, General Bramwell Booth, oldest son of the Founder and Army Mother, when he said “We in The (Salvation) Army have learned to thank God for eccentricity and extravagance, and to consecrate them to His service. We have men in our ranks who can rollick for the Lord. Thank God for the dare-devils! They led us on the forward march. They have helped to keep us free from the shackles of respectability. They keep us passionate.”

In the words of the fourth General of The Salvation Army, Evangeline Booth, daughter of the Founder and Army Mother, said ”There is no reward equal to that of doing the most good to the most people in the most need”.

And finally these words of our Lord, Jesus the Christ as found in  Matthew 25:34 - 36 NIV  "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'”

These are the pillars from which I approach the Refugee problem. My reaction is action oriented, nothing less and nothing more. We, as Salvationists, hear a call to action; we must help those arriving on the shores of Sweden! No questions asked! Just help given.

Part One of Five
Leonard Johnson
FSAOF Sweden

1 comment:

Bron said...

As a currently serving officer (Australia) who has been involved in the regional processing centre on Nauru, I give a resounding 'yes' to this blog.
Thank you