Appeal issued by the Christian Churches and the Jewish Community on Refugee Sunday and Refugee Sabbath, June 14 and 15, 2014

“O LORD, how manifold are your works! / In wisdom have you made them all; / the earth is full of your creatures. [...] These all look to you / to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; / when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.” (Ps 104:24.27‒28)

‘Our boat is full!’ This claim has been successfully used for quite some time to perpe-trate a policy of isolationism. However, the actual meaning of the word ‘full’ is quite different. Originally, we find it in the Bible as a divine promise: “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof” (Ps 24:1) and “you shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses (Ex 22:29). All people are given the prospect of a full and abundant life – not only the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere, not only those who were lucky enough to be born into peaceful and wealthy societies, but all of humanity. There is enough for everyone – that is the promise of God, the Lord of the world! Enough food, enough space to live, enough freedom, enough rights, enough possibilities for participation – and most importantly: enough solidarity, enough compassion, enough respect and enough justice.

From an economical point of view, the resources of this world are scarce. The idea that there is not enough for everyone fosters competition and distrust. This is not the biblical point of view. Fullness can be found in the biblical stories wherever people are willing to give and to share. The divine promise of fullness is first and foremost a promise to the disadvantaged in our society, to those who are marginalized and os-tracized. God’s promise of being filled with good things is not something we can see automatically. We can recognize the good things we receive only when we share them. Keeping them to ourselves, they are nothing but possessions; it is in sharing them with other human beings that we experience the divine fullness.

Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches
The Rev. Dr. Gottfried Wilhelm Locher, Council President

Swiss Bishops’ Conference
Bishop Markus Büchel

Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland
Bishop Dr. Harald Rein

Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities
Dr. Herbert Winter