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Protesters on the roof of the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney, 2011 (from Wikimedia Commons)

Protesters on the roof of the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney, 2011 (from Wikimedia Commons)

Hyperbole and one-up-man-ship often mark the national discourse where controversy is concerned. In the midst of the sloganeering and major political parties competing to see who can offer the greatest deterrent to “stop the boats,” are men, women and children detained in off-shore prisons awaiting their indefinite and uncertain fates.

On the reception of asylum seekers, the Church in this land is also divided. Immigration control vs humanitarian response to people in distress! The former suggests a pre-occupation with the concerns of empire, while the latter reflects the kernel of the focus of God’s realm. Our Lenten readings from the prophets, the gospels and the letters of Paul indicate as much.

So how does the follower of Jesus emulating the latter respond to opponents even within his/her camp. “With this mind,” says Paul as he launches into the Church’s well known and favourite credal hymn – the touchstone of what we’re all about in today’s Lenten text  Philippians 2:5-11.

The focus for all Christians, no matter what persuasion, even in the divisive asylum seeker debate is – serve one another with the mind and heart of Christ. This is what changes the world for the better.

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