The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
-Emma Lazarus, 1883
Alexis DeToqueville said, “America is great because she is good. If she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Matthew- Jesus was a refugee. As a tiny baby, threatened with death by the maniac in power in his home country. Jesus, tiny toddler Jesus, carried by his mother across the Sinai desert, hundreds of miles, seeking and finding sanctuary in Egypt. Followers of Jesus cannot forget; Jesus was a refugee.
Walking with hundreds of others in the Iowa City heat. Heat index 107 oppressive and dangerous, but nothing like walking from Central America, across Mexico, for months on end. Heat, the speaker said, that makes our Saturday feel like winter.
Can you imagine what you would be willing to do if the place you lived was so violent, so gang-ridden, with police bought off or terrified into inaction? What would you be willing to do if the gangs showed up at your house and demanded your son become a member of the gang? Or demanded your daughter as a sex toy for the gang members? What would you do? Would you walk a thousand miles to find a sanctuary space? Pay smugglers all you have to show you the way? Walk a thousand miles carrying your baby?
Prior to the Patriot Act in 2002, Immigration was handled by the Labor or Commerce Departments. It was an issue of jobs. In the panic after September 11, suddenly all immigrants became terrorists until proven otherwise.
Amid the blazing heat, touch our loved ones into healing and wholeness. Celebrate along with us as we celebrate new birth, new directions, new courage going forward.
Send your comforting presence to children separated from their parents; give strength to those in detention; make bold and persistent those who seek to advocate, translate, liberate those in jail for pursuing the American Dream. For the rest of us, make us bold, and fierce in speaking the Truth of God’s love to those who love only Power. Keep us energized to insist that this great nation once again reclaim its goodness.
We who follow Jesus, who seek to live our lives by his example, who proclaim that God is Still Speaking, and commit ourselves to give voice to God’s Words without fear or intimidation, we will continue to give voice for the voiceless, to speak up for the vulnerable, to insist on compassion for the weak, the foreigner, the hopeless. We will not be silenced but we will continue to speak God’s Truth of Love to those we have elected as our servants, and in our communities, and on the protest march, and most importantly, in the voting booth. This is the way we live into the promises we made when we claimed for ourselves our baptism and made our vows to join the church. If we are to remain true to our vows before Jesus Christ, we can do no other, God help us.
Awesome, powerful God, hear our prayers. Come, work through us, and make things right again- that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. AMEN
The New Colossus