Jesus, you say “welcome the little children” and “blessed are the poor” and “what we do to the most vulnerable we do to you.” You tell us that we will be judged not on whether we said, “Lord, Lord,” not on if we tithed or attended worship or sang your praises, but on if we were compassionate and cared for the sick, the weak, the prisoner, the stranger, the children, the least of these our brothers and sisters.
We ask forgiveness even as we confess that we are still engaged in practices that are abhorrent. Children are being forcibly taken from their parents. People fleeing abuse are being further abused in our name. Youth who crossed our borders unaccompanied are being incarcerated. Those brought here years and years ago remain in a state of anxious waiting as our elected leaders use their fate as a bargaining chip.
We plead with you, Lord Christ, not for mercy for ourselves, but for relief for those in the throes of our broken immigration system. We plead with you, Lord Christ, for wisdom to know what to do to stop these horrendous practices. We plead with you, Lord Christ, that you would soften our hearts, embolden our witness, loosen our tongues to proclaim your gospel word of love and welcome in word and deed. We plead with you, Lord Christ, to send the Holy Spirit with disruptive wind that blows away our complacency and moves us closer to those in greatest need of an advocate. We plead with you, Lord Christ, to send the flames of the Holy Spirit to burn away our self-centeredness and sin so that we might instead be the light of the world you call us to be.
Lord of all, who welcomes the little children, hold them close until they are reunited with their families. Lord Jesus, who came to this earth poor, a refugee who fled with his family to escape violence, help us to see you in each other, especially in those who right this moment are on the run, looking for safety. Lord Christ, who goes after the lost sheep and brings them safely home, make of us good shepherds, too. Amen.
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