Jesus At The Border

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

The scapegoated

The victimized.

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.

Image: “Jesus was a refugee” by Politica11y Unmotivated via Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

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