​The altar of Église Catholique Sainte Germaine (Saint Germaine Catholic Church) in Calais, France. Photographer: Joseph Givens.

By Joseph Givens
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Joseph and Rachel Givens accompany volunteers at the Maria Skobtsova House in Calais, France, where they offer hospitality and temporary accommodation to people fleeing dangerous situations, as they seek refuge on their way to the United Kingdom. Read more of the Givens' blogs.

I write this on the Saturday between Good Friday, when we remember our Lord's death, and Easter, when we celebrate his resurrection. It's an in-between time, during which Jesus lies dead in the tomb, hope is seemingly lost and promises remain unfulfilled. As I reflect on this, I can't help but connect it to the people we serve in Calais, France. They, like Jesus, are stuck in the in-between. They've completed some of the most difficult parts of their journeys already, having fled dangerous situations and endured unimaginable ordeals. They've made their way across Africa and the Middle East, over the Mediterranean, and across Europe, to Calais, France.

And now, they're stuck.

They're stuck waiting for the end of their journey, the promise of a better life in the United Kingdom. But rather than being welcomed or offered safe passage out of their terrible circumstances, they are dehumanized, beaten and tear-gassed while they are in France. But all they can do is wait. Wait for a better day, a time when they can achieve their dreams.

Because they hope their time will come, they endure the pain, the dehumanization and the strife, for a chance at a better, safer future for themselves and their children.

And like them, we know the in-between seems dark, but the sun rises on Easter morning, and with it, our hope is resurrected. The pain and the suffering that Jesus and the disciples experienced diminished in the joy of the resurrection.

This is the hope we preach. Because we know, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn't extinguish the light" (John 1:5, Common English Bible). Even though the darkness seems impenetrable, the light is still shining. We rest in the hope of Easter, the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And we hold the hope of a future promised to us by our Lord, a future when there will be no more sorrow or sickness or death, a future made possible by the suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Joy comes in the morning, with Easter.

So while we are in this in-between time, let us love our neighbor, who is also in a place of waiting, seeking a better future for themselves and their children. Rather than shutting them out, let us open the door and let them in, into our homes and into our hearts. Let us bring a taste of the future promised by Jesus to our world today. 

 

 

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https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/5061/Easter-calls-us-to-open-the-doors-of-our-homes-and-our-hearts

Joseph Givens serves with the Maria Skobtsova Housing Association in Calais, France, through Mennonite Mission Network.

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