Editor’s Note: As we follow Jesus through the Lenten season, we remember how we expelled him as a criminal from our world. Today our nation expels immigrants bearing the image of Christ. As we journey with Jesus, we remember that Jesus journeys with migrants, and that we find his in face in the faces of those isolated, marginalized, and deported.
During this Lenten season the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program is set to end on March 5th. You can add action to prayers by writing to your representatives to pass compassionate legislation to re-instate DACA and protect DREAMERS. You can also find a special Stations of the Cross that connects Jesus’s journey to the journey of immigrants here.
Jesus at the Border
Blessed Lord Jesus,
You emigrated from your heavenly kingdom
Into a hostile world.
As a child you were driven from your home
By the wrath of Herod.
As a man, you were driven from this world
By the wrath of humans.
You brought the gift of your wisdom,
Your unconditional love
To a human culture foreign to your way
Of compassionate grace.
You who created this world without borders.
Were treated as a stranger.
You walked among us.
Yet we knew you not.
As we follow your journey to the cross,
Your journey to expulsion
From a world that rejected you,
Help us to remember
That you walked in the footsteps of the persecuted
As you were cast out, you walked in solidarity with outcasts.
You were mocked and ridiculed
When our world didn’t speak your language of Love.
You were beaten and bruised
When you didn’t assimilate to a world built on violence and fear.
We follow in your footsteps of pain,
Knowing that we must go through the suffering
In order to transform it.
We can’t build walls to muffle the cries
Of neighbors suffering and dying.
We can’t stop grief at checkpoints.
We can’t deport the isolation and loneliness
The greed and selfishness,
The rage and dissonance,
All around us simmering and erupting in violence.
We must journey through it,
So with stumbling steps we follow.
In this dark night of the soul before the sunrise,
We travel with you, O Jesus.
Lord of wanderers and refugees,
Who led Noah across the waters,
And Abraham from his homeland,
And the Hebrews out of captivity.
You walk with migrants in their uncertainty
On their journey to a new home in an unwelcoming world.
So we must walk with them
In order to see you.
When we see men and women pulled from their homes by immigration officers,
We remember your arrest in the garden.
When we see men and women unjustly beaten
We see the lashes on your back.
When we see those who seek refuge cast out
We remember how we cast you out.
When our nation treats immigrants as criminals,
We become the same criminals we became
When we put you on trial.
We must see that every drop of blood shed
And every dying breath
Is your own.
If we don’t see you
In the mother pulled away from her child
In the father dragged from his home
In the child shivering in the detention center
Then we don’t see you at all.
But you walk with the immigrants –
You walk with all of us –
Through the pain of a world divided,
Into a new land of peace.
You walked the path of death
That we carved for you and ourselves
With the same sword we use to “defend” our borders and expel our enemies.
Your love dissolved the barrier
Between your eternal Life
And the short, fear-filled lives we live
Trapped in the lie that others must die.
You returned to the world that expelled you,
Transforming it, transforming us,
With Love that breaks death’s chains.
You break down barriers between nations,
For we need no longer recognize ourselves by boundaries
Against those we are not
When we recognize who we ARE
In the life of the great I AM.
Seeing you in the faces of our neighbors,
Seeing each other for who we are as your light illumines our faces,
No longer kicking anyone out,
For the whole world belongs to You.
This is the promise of your resurrection,
The promise of your Kindom come.
But now we walk with you
In this time of transition and upheaval
Journeying to the cross again and again
Until your love breaks down the barriers
Erected around our hearts.
Oh Jesus, you stand at the border
Between our old world of violence
And your new world of Love.
Guide our hearts and hands
To tear down our walls
And embrace our neighbors
As we let you in.