By the time you read this, a refugee family of seven from Afghanistan will be safely settled in their new home in Dallas, Texas.
Over the last week, a Catalyst Group from KPUMC has been hard at work getting a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in north Dallas ready for their arrival. Oscar Brown and Mary Ann Climer went shopping for furniture at some resale shops and found a beautiful dining room set, couches, and other assorted pieces. Mary Ann found housewares at Goodwill, and bought fresh groceries to fill the refrigerator and pantry. Bev Sladek and I made up the beds, put contact paper in the kitchen shelves, and put books and toys out for the children. Sally Climer had a meal prepared for their arrival last night (Wednesday).
I think of the preparation work as especially appropriate for Holy Week. During these days in which we observe the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, our church has been working on behalf of a family which has suffered much in the preceding years. We know very little about this family, except that they are from Afghanistan, have five children — four boys from the age of 13 to 6, and a two—year old daughter. We also know that the father had worked alongside US Special Ops forces, and for that reason, his identity must be kept secret as much as possible. We don’t know yet what they have experienced over the past seventeen years — since the US began military operations in Afghanistan — but we can safely assume that things became untenable for them to stay.
And even though we can also safely assume that they are Muslims, I would like to suggest that their arrival in the US is a kind of Easter moment for them. They are about to experience a sort of mini-resurrection, a chance for them to start again. Here in Dallas they will be able to enroll all their children in school, find meaningful employment, and begin to dream of the future.
That’s what Easter is about, isn’t it? In the resurrection of Jesus, we have the perfect symbol and guarantee of the possibility of new life. What our refugee family from Afghanistan is experiencing right now, is something that you and I can experience as well right now.
New life, setting aside the past, repentance, leaving behind old ways of being and thinking — all of this is possible because Jesus has broken the power of death and sin. We don’t have to remain mired in the muck of the world’s dysfunction. We are renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be “resettled” into a new place, a safe space that we recognize as home.
Come home to Jesus this Easter. Come home to yourself.