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February 23, 2010

It was a long and boring day when Jahsiah Montrevil, age 6, traveled to Washington to visit his family’s congressional representatives, along with his pastor and other members of his congregation, his two sisters and his mother. His father was in a detention center, about to be deported. Jahsiah was needed to help get him out. One child friendly congressional aid gave him a rubber ball made of wound rubber bands. He played with it all day, in and out of the congressional offices. On the train on the way home, he engaged his entire car in a game of unwinding the ball to its various parts and then rewinding it back into a ball. Strangers had fun with him and each other.

That ball represents our hopes for the globe: that we will come together, let ourselves be changed by each other, recognize our parts and learn how to both unwind and rewind together into a new wholeness.


O God, remind us that we are part of a whole, part of the land or our ancestry and your future, that we are both bordered people and unbordered, national and trans-national, wound and unwound people. Let us be citizens of a globe, where love and respect have just borders. Amen.

O Creator, no matter whether our tradition began with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Sara, or Ishmael and Hagar, or the immigrants from Far East, far south, and far north who stood at the manger, or in a manifestation as deep as the heart’s longing for understanding, still, hear our prayer for the displaced and misplaced. We are each hosts and guests, strangers and friends, on an increasingly small globe that has its source in you. Bind us together in the arts of mutual welcome and understanding. Amen.

Let us get by through the kindness of strangers, and help us make sure we know who the stranger really is. Teach us to think globally from the safety of our own back yard – so that we may learn to be truly safe. Amen

Great Wholeness and Greater Spirit, you whom no nation nor faith dare fully name or claim, prepare us for the long haul. Grant the whole globe the arts of mutual welcome. Let me hear my voice complain every timeI hear hate in speech. Give sanctuary a new name. Let there be no borders on love. And guarantee children a future filled with bouncing balls on a joyous globe. Amen.

A Litany to Use in Public Prayer

Loving God, we come together today as brothers and sisters in the global human family – in a season that for some of us is a powerful season of hope.

All: We are many faiths, but one people – neighbors sharing one creation.

One: Divine One, we act in hope today in support of families torn apart by our country’s immigration laws.

All: We ask for their restoration.

One: Creator, we act in hope today in support of all those who live with constant anxiety because they are not documented, and who do not have a realistic way to become documented – even if they have lived and worked as part of our communities for many years.

All: We ask for an end to this haunting burden.

One: Gracious God, we ask for understanding and compassion among us for how difficult the road to citizenship is for those who have traveled far, risked much, and who are trying to survive as strangers in a strange land.

All: We ask for help that will make their journeys easier.

One: God of Compassion, we stand in support of our sisters and brothers who are held in immigration detention centers.

All: We ask for justice, we ask for their freedom, and Loving One, we ask you to bring them comfort.

One: O Great Restorer, by your light we seek repair of the world. Help us to see how we may best move forward: with compassionate solidarity, strategic wisdom, and our spirits oriented towards justice – in remembrance of all who live in the shadows and yearn to breathe free.

All: We commit ourselves, in hope, to action.

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