From ANN, September 3, 2015:   Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis has escalated over the summer, leaving the continent divided over how to deal with a flood of people led by Syrians fleeing war in their homeland.

The desperate migrants and asylum seekers now flooding into Europe by the tens of thousands, and the inability so far to accommodate them in an organized way, may be starting to fray Europe’s commitment to erase old borders.

Credit: Inter-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists

Credit: Inter-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists

The European migrant crisis is rising through the increasing number of migrant arrivals—a combination of economic migrants and refugees—to the European Union across the Mediterranean Sea and the Balkans from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

The term crisis has been used since April 2015, when at least five boats carrying almost two thousand migrants to Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, with a combined death toll estimated at more than 1,200 people.

In 2014, EU member states received 132,405 requests from migrants. In total, 23,295 requests were accepted, so these migrants will receive some form of protection from the EU (asylum, refugee status, subsidiary protection, protection because of humanitarian reasons). The remaining 109,110 requests were rejected, so these migrants will be required to leave the territory of the European Union.

The Inter-European Division (EUD) of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination released the following statement:

Like millions of Europeans, the immigrant story is also our story. The European people are a welcoming and generous people. Europeans are, of course, right to demand better border security and better prevention from human trafficking. On the other hand, we do recognize the difficulty of managing this huge humanitarian crisis and promise, therefore, to pray for the competent authorities.

We believe that these people are doing what any of us would do if we had an opportunity for a better life for our families and children. They take the risk of coming here; many of them are extraordinarily impoverished and are claiming back their dignity as human beings.

Mario Brito, EUD president, declared: “We are all children of the same Father. This is the time to stick together and share God’s abundant love for each of us. May the Lord bless all these suffering migrants, may the Lord give us a merciful heart.”

In Matthew 25, 34-36, Jesus says: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

The Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news service of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.