A Holy Experience (Our Syrian Family Arrives)

A holy experience.

I think that’s the best way to describe this morning as we greeted the arrival of the Syrian family we have sponsored to come to Canada.

Today, a bunch of us travelled to Toronto, met with our newcomer family, and transported them to their new home in St. Catharines. It’s only been a few hours since we’ve met, but our interaction with them has already been profound.

A father and a mother, their three children, and their grandmother. They arrived yesterday, but we meet them in the hotel lobby where they have spent the night after their long journey. Joanne greets the children with gift bags containing balloons, stuffed animal pillows, and more. The two boys grin from ear-to-ear at their gifts, while the youngest girl, only two years of age, immediately latches onto the balloon and won’t give it up for anything. Lorie greets them with a sign saying, “Welcome to Canada” in Arabic.

The father immediately expresses his thankfulness as best as he can through the translator who’s accompanied us. It’s immediately evident that they are tired and overwhelmed with all of the incredible changes they are experiencing. But even so, the father immediately expresses that we can never know how much this means to his family, and that it was only a short time ago during their journey to flee Syria that they were running past bodies and victims of the violence as they tried to get their children to safety.

The mother and grandmother sink to a nearby couch and begin to cry at what has just happened. Their last home was a storage shed, without electricity and hot water. They all express how they have waited to be safe, and Joanne reassures them saying, “ No more guns. No guns. You’re safe now.”

Jesus says that wherever we gather, he is there with us. He also says that we are the light of the world, and that we are the hands and the feet of his love to the world.

When we love one another, it becomes an act of worship, and Jesus says that this is how we worship best.

When we love one another as we are in need, just as we hope someone would love us, it’s the most holy experience we can have, and that’s what we shared with our Syrian newcomer family this morning.

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