The Common Good

What I Said To Syrian Refugee Women

Date: July 16, 2014

A version of this article appeared in Sojourners Magazine, July 2014.

In May 2014, after several days of visiting Syrian refugees in UN camps and in temporary homes throughout Jordan, I was invited to speak of the love of God to two hundred Syrian refugee women in an urban community center. Heartsick by what I’d seen throughout the week, I had already begun writing in my journal an “open letter to Syrian refugees.” That letter became this talk that a dear friend from Palestine translated into Arabic for me.

I wish I didn't have to stand up here in front of you. I would rather sit beside you on a cushion on the floor and have a cup of tea with you. I would like to snuggle your baby in my arms. I would like to hear your story. I know you have a sad story and if I heard it, I would weep—as I have with some of you this week.