This week our hearts have been full of grief – again – at the heart of so much of Europe towards some of the world’s most vulnerable people. On Tuesday we prayed for Denmark, and the whole continent, to remember the acts of brave self-sacrifice that had made her great in the past. But although many people spoke up against it, the legislation around confiscating ‘migrant’s’ assets and delaying family reunification went through. And then there was Greece…
Whilst the social media feeds of key international organisations have been filling up with discussion over whether the people of Greece will be nominated for a Nobel Peace prize, the headlines of mainstream media have been telling of the EU’s anger and criticism of the same nation for the same behaviour.
What a difference heart and perspective make. A truth brilliantly demonstrated in the prophetic voice that comes through from Greece in this interview with the country’s Migration Minister that we watched yesterday.
Like us throughout our prayer times this week, Yiannis Mouzalas also looks back to history to learn from its lessons – heroic and otherwise – in order to champion what he believes Europe should be about.
To him – and the majority of the Greek people – there can be no alternative but to help those landing on their shores fleeing desperate circumstances. And to do so in a humane way. Perhaps it is because Greece keeps coming face to face with the actual people involved – those who make the voyage successfully, and those who don’t – that it can’t avoid the truth that each one is of priceless value.
It reminded us of the scene near the end of Schindler’s List where Schindler has to leave as the allies advance, and he breaks down weeping. He throws off his expensive wrist watch, trying to calculate how many more lives he could have saved had he not kept it… having allowed himself to fully see the human worth of each individual others felt were disposable, he is then broken to think of the other individuals that had been disposed of because he did not do more.
Back to today, Yiannis Mouzalas is asked in this interview who he blames for the situation Europe is in with the ‘migrant’ crisis. And he responds by saying that he isn’t interested in playing the blame game. But instead he wants to find the solution for the refugees.
This is turning the problem on its head – heart side up. And as a result, asking completely new questions.
There was much in his words throughout the interview that resonated with us and further fuelled our prayers yesterday, but this particular idea – the idea of asking a different question – lingered beyond them all and spilled into our prayer this morning too…
What if we started praying for new questions?
A prayer for new questions
What is this beautiful exchange?
Our sin for your sacrifice;
our rebellion for your reconciliation;
our hard hearts for your hands and feet pierced;
our fear for your faithful, perfect love.
Oh Lord Jesus we need another beautiful exchange.
Take Europe’s defensive questions,
our smoke and mirror arguments
and our blame shifting rhetoric
and reveal the true, hard heart behind them.
And in their place?
Give us wise questions,
and a renewed heart of love in our continent.
Oh Jesus let us unwind all this noise
and start again,
daring to figure our this crisis on our knees
as we pour out these new questions
to you and each other.
Not who is to blame?
But how can we help?
Not what comfort might we lose?
But whose life might we save?
Not do we have enough?
But will they survive?
Not how will this affect our security tomorrow?
But how will we bear today’s negligence
when it becomes the yesterday we wrote?
Lord Jesus we trust you to help us embrace this beautiful exchange,
to replace a continent of stone with a continent of flesh again
for the sake of the suffering refugees
and the ones whose hearts are shutting down enough
to shut the door to ones you so love,
awaken the right questions again.