In the last weeks of February Australia has been confronted by the question of who our neighbour is. People who have fled situations of violence, seeking sanctuary in our safety, have been let down while held in our care. We have seen violence, secrecy and death. And Australian Christians must ask ourselves once again what it means to live as though the reign of God is truly in our midst.
Who we count as our neighbour tells us what kind of God we believe in. That’s why racism, sexism, homophobia, and the way that we treat asylum seekers are matters of great importance. These are at the heart of who we are and who we think God is.

To be truly human is to take note of our neighbour, to love our neighbour with the same love God has for us. This is what it means to be whole, healthy and fully human. Karl Barth, a Swiss theologian who lived through World War 2,  wrote that being human means truly encountering others as human creatures, made in God’s image. He wrote that “My action is human when the outstretched hand of the other does not grope in the void but finds in mine the support which is asked.”

After a recent visit to the detention centre on Manus Island, Amnesty International drew attention to the lack of basic provisions, including shoes that are provided to asylum seekers. Perhaps if our neighbour has no shoes, we could give them some of ours. There is currently a group of everyday people sending shoes to the immigration minister, asking him to send them on to those in our care in detention.

On Sunday 23rd February, around 15000 people all across Australia took part in candelight vigils to mark the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati in the Manus Island detention centre. Sydney Town Hall Square was full of people from different parts of the city, different faiths and life-perspectives, each holding out a hand to the void. light the dark

Shoes and candles won’t fix a tragedy, but they might remind me who my neighbour is. They might remind me that those who seek asylum in our midst are fellow human beings made and loved by God. Even those who arrive by boat. A pair of shoes might even help me to take small steps towards living and loving as Jesus lived and loved. A candle, and a sea of candles flooding Sydney Town Hall Sqaure, might remind me to live believing that the darkness will not swallow up the light.
If you would like to be a part of the More than enough shoe campaign, please send wearable shoes (new, if possible) to The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, and ask him to ensure they get to detention centres, so that no asylum seeker in Australia’s care is without shoes. Also ask him to ensure they are not without justice and compassion.more than enough
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