“My food is to do the will of him who sent me & to accomplish his work”: Reading & Responding to the Signs of the Times

July 28th, 2016 4:04 pm

HadjeHadje Cresencio Sadje is an associate member in the Center for Palestine Studies-SOAS University of London UK. He is currently a master student at the Protestant Theological University-Groningen and has been working with various professional and faith-based organisation including, PhISO, Peace Builders Community Philippines, and the Foundation University-Amsterdam The Netherlands. 

On 8 July 2016, I arrived at Mytilene International Airport, Lesvos Greece. The main purpose is to join the voluntary program of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Mediterranean (CPT). The Christian Peacemaker Teams is an organisation working and participating in a non-violent struggle around the world. Inspired by the public ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, the CPT stand for human rights, reclaim human dignity, and witness to the world without war. In response to the sudden influx of refugees in European nations, CPT is answering the call The CPT Mediterranean project was initiated by CPTers in Europe. In 2014, CPT was invited by Greek local partners and the goal of this project is to work alongside local of local partners to accompany and to protect refugees in the Lesvos Island, Greece.

Photo by Hadje C. Sadje

Photo by Hadje C. Sadje

Situating the prophetic role of the CPT in EU Refugee Crisis

Lesvos Island is one of the key points of entry for the refugees wishing to travel to Europe. The European Union heads of state or government were overwhelmed by the massive flow of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. In response, the EU frame the refugee crisis as security and economic issues. EU heads of state and Turkey government agreed and finalised the deal on 20 March 2016. In general, the outcome of the deal: all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into Greek islands will be returned to Turkey; and for every Syrian returned to Turkey from Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU. After the finalisation of the EU-Turkey deal everything has changed. The EU-Turkey deal puts asylum seekers stock up in limbo—a life of waiting for their applications. EU refugee’s everyday life is like a rat race. EU refuges stock up with no job, uncertain future, no freedom of movement, live in a constant fear of xenophobia, and live in poor housing conditions. EU refugee camp conditions vary wildly in their size and ethnicity. These people are risking everything for a chance on asylum application to be approved by EU states. In light of these disputed EU-Turkey deal, CPT Mediterranean Project might be brought into a more fruitful conversation and better inform the Church’s response to the global refugee crisis, particularly in European nations.

Standing on the Gaps

In the rise of the far-right and nationalist parties, EU refugees lived under the constant fear, violence, and threat of xenophobia. Being a EU refugee, some far-right individual and groups perceived them as a threat to national security, lingering terrorist, not entitled to free movement, and the worst is a carrier of the disease. At the project’s onset, I am aware of the severity of ideological tensions among the European clergy, church members, and activists in response to EU refugee crisis. However, CPT takes an important step in the pursuit of Christian prophetic presence in the EU refugee crisis. I am aware that there are many different classifications of NGO works in the entire Island of Lesvos but CPT Team demonstrates that contemporary Christian community is not detached from the reality on the ground. The concrete contribution of CPT is redeeming the idea of social justice as one of the primary concerns of the Gospel of Christ, not simply praying for vulnerable but by undoing oppression, undoing racism, undoing heterosexism, and sexual harassment. The CPT Mediterranean Team is standing on the gaps for human rights, reclaim human dignity, and witness to the world without war.

Hadje Lesvos 2

Photo by Kayla Louise, CPT 2016

I personally owe so much to CPT Mediterranean Team to have the privilege to work with them. Bringing me to volunteer opportunities throughout CPT Mediterranean Project, CPT Team helped foster my awareness of the EU refugee crisis and vulnerable economic migrants actualised my Christian faith marked for me by immense privilege. I developed a deeper understanding of the justice of God work as a response to standing for human rights, reclaim human dignity, and witness to the world without war.

Hadje Lesvos 3

Photo by Hadje C. Sadje

Now, are we ready to accept the challenge? EU Refugee Crisis is calling—how will you answer? As our Lord Jesus Christ says:

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

NOTE:

If you need more information about Christian Peacemaker Team program please contact us by email at . Or, to learn more about Christian Peacemaker Team please visit our official website: http://www.cpt.org/.

 

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