Immigration is an act of hope, a faithfulness in God’s promise of abundance. People arriving in the U.S. carry this hope and faithfulness with them and become a gift to the communities they join. Sunday, September 29, is designated as Gifts of New Immigrants Sunday and during the worship service many Presbyterian churches will be lifting up the gifts that immigrants bring.
It will also be a time of lament as so many immigrants face an uncertain future as access to processes to gain status are blocked and immigration raids and enforcement are on the rise. In this time, when our members fear raids and the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and so much more, the church offers two prayers of lament.
The Reverend Rosa B. Miranda, associate for Hispanic/Latino, an Intercultural Congregational Support, PC(USA), and the Reverend Lemuel Garcia, associate director for Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries, PC(USA), offer two prayers of lament.
God, We have heard and seen the lament of entire families suffering separation and uncertainty. Lament that gives witness to the absence of our voices and work in the society in which we live, proclaiming the values of the kingdom, in order to conform to models that forget people in favor of profits and an unsustainable way of life. Lament that calls out the ignorance in which we live, because to have food at affordable prices on our tables, entire families have been stripped of their right to dignified work with fair remuneration, which provides what is necessary for their loved ones. Lament that reminds us that we have stopped listening and believing in your Word, to fill our hearts with half-truths and lies that justify the despair and objectification of our brothers, our sisters and ourselves. Lament that we prefer to keep distant in order to move forward with our lives, believing that others will be the ones who will respond by accompanying these families with your love, compassion and justice. Lament that invites us to let ourselves be broken by the truth of your Word and example of Jesus Christ, who invited us to bring the good news of fullness of life for all creation and not just for a few. Lament that calls us to take off the blindfold and have the courage to be present to listen to the real-life stories of families, who without wishing to leave all they have loved, trusted that in this walk there is a possibility of life for them and their community. Lament that hurts us deeply because it makes it clear that we deny our call when we look at the other forgetting that we are equal before you. Unsustainable lamentation, because the land is yours, and we are only outsiders who each receive the generosity of your hospitality. Lament that invites us to return to you with humble and sincere hearts, begging that your Spirit transform us into agents of change in our neighborhoods, communities and society. In Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.
Prayer written by Rev. Rosa B. Miranda, Associate for Hispanic/Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support, PCUSA. English translation by Amanda Craft
God of love, God of grace, God of justice.
We lift up our prayers to you for the well-being and safety of our siblings who are suffering from unjust immigration policies. We cry out to you even as we weep for the families that have been separated, children, parents, spouses, relatives, and friends. And we ask, “how much longer, oh God, of these terrible atrocities against Christ?” Grant our siblings the divine justice they so long for as your beloved children bearing your image. May we walk in solidarity with them and may see clearly the face of Christ in their faces. May you grant us the courage to engage in your work of rectifying the wrongs committed against your people and your body. May your love, grace, and justice continue to sustain us and strengthen us as we “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly” with you and all your children who are suffering separation and violence inflicted upon them by unjust laws. Amen.
Prayer written by Rev. Lemuel Garcia, Associate Director for Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries
[ Español ]