, news editor, Adventist Review
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe called for compassion and prayer Thursday amid a migrant crisis that saw hundreds of migrants stage protests in France and Hungary and the bodies of other migrants wash up in Turkey this week.
Desperate migrants and asylum seekers have flooded into Europe by the thousands from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia this summer, leaving the continent divided over how to deal with them.
”We are all children of the same Father. This is the time to stick together and share God's abundant love for each of us,” said Mario Brito, president of the Adventist Church’s Inter-European Division. “May the Lord bless all these suffering migrants. May the Lord give us a merciful heart."
This week, hundreds of migrants blocked high-speed Eurostar trains traveling between Paris and London by standing on tracks near the French port of Calais. An angry crowd has camped at a train station in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, demanding to be allowed to leave for Germany.
Horror swept across Europe when photos of a drowned toddler who washed up on a Turkish shore this week spread across the Internet. Turkish authorities said the child was among a group of 23 migrants who sought to flee to Greece on two boats. At least 12 of the migrants drowned when a boat sank.
The Inter-European Division said the migrants’ story “is our story.”
“We believe that these people are doing what any of us would do if we had an opportunity for a better life for our families and children,” the division’s communications department said in a statement. “They take the risk of coming here; many of them are extraordinarily impoverished and are claiming back their dignity as human beings.”
It pointed to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:34-36 as a guide for how to treat the migrants. The passage reads: “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.’”
Adventist leaders pledged to pray for European Union authorities as they grappled with the migrant crisis.
“Europeans are, of course, right to demand better border security and better prevention from human trafficking,” the statement said. “On the other hand, we do recognize the difficulty of managing this huge humanitarian crisis and promise, therefore, to pray for the competent authorities.”