Last Sunday my parish took part in Share the Journey, a global call to walk together in solidarity with migrants all over the world. People have myriad reasons to flee their homes.
How could our stroll on Sunday have any comparison with those who are forced to leave their homes for fear of their lives or their livelihoods? How could it be related in any way with those who face a hideous, dangerous journey with an uncertain end?
The link is a concept of solidarity. A tough one to describe and to feel. Wikipedia says it “refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one”. There is a part of me that thinks that that must mean that unless I walk hundreds of miles and risk my life in a rickety boat, I am not in solidarity. A walk in the park won’t cut it.
But it does cut it. I could have been doing other things on Sunday morning, I wasn’t, I was walking purposefully with a group of people who share a belief that having to leave your homeland is not a good thing. We were listened to stories of refugees as we went. And we were praying together.
Do I know it works? Yes I do, that is my faith of course. I believe that my prayers and my deliberate footsteps in the sunshine in a park in Birmingham will be felt by refugees the world over. It’s what gives me hope that together we can make the world a better place.
We were joined by a photographer, James Maher, who spent some time with the Lampedusa Cross we were carrying, a simple cross, made by Francesco Tuccio on the island of Lampedusa from the wreckage of boats carrying migrants, which he finds washed up on beaches. James’ passion for taking photographs of the cross was obvious and wiped away my feeling that we may not have done very much. We were passionate and hopeful. That goes a long way.