“It is God who holds the nations in the hollow of his hand”, wrote Fred Pratt Green (StF 705) – but it is we who establish national borders and barriers, and at some of these borders people die. People die and their names become lost.
The Conference of European Churches has designated June 20 a ‘Day of intercession in memory of those who have died at the borders of the EU’:
‘After examining media reports the human rights organization “Fortress Europe” came to the conclusion that in the period from 1988 to 26 October 2012, at least 18,567 people died at the borders of Europe. 13,733 persons died in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Sea in their attempt to reach Europe. In the year 2011 alone, 2,352 people lost their lives at European borders. The actual number of victims is much higher than this, since many deaths go unrecorded’.
Prayers and information have been produced by the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum.
How will we sing our anger and our hope?
We may “lay our broken world in sorrow” at God’s feet, “haunted by hunger, war and fear, oppressed by power and hate” (Anna Briggs, StF 718)
We may recognise, with Graham Kendrick, our need – and the need of political leaders and social activists – to campaign for
“refuge from cruel wars,
havens from fear,
cities for sanctuary,
freedoms to share”
(Beauty for brokenness, StF 693)
“In labour all creation groans
till false divisions cease,
till differences are reconciled
in Christ who is our peace.” (Delores Dufner, StF 704)
And when our search for justice seems futile;
and when our grief for those who die at the hands of selfish power becomes too much;
and when we are asked: “Where is your God in all of this?” –
maybe we will join with
“The God who sings
A new world into being shows the way
for many voices, varied gifts to sound
The God who calls
in hearts of those who hear his Chosen One
forgives, transforms, empowers, renews us while
we journey on.” (Douglas Galbraith, StF 714)