2017 Spirit of America Project

Multi-faith Worship for Refugees and Immigrants

InterFaith Works invites the public, organizations and faith communities to participate in its Spirit of America: Liberty, Diversity, Dignity project to celebrate the diversity of our country and to educate others about the refugee experience. In celebration of Independence Day, it kicks off the weekend of Friday, June 30 and will run through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4. 

 

Drawing from multiple faith traditions, the readings and prayers below are provided to area faith communities that are celebrating the diversity of our community, the liberty of our nation, and the dignity of all people. The prayers are written for a multi-faith group, but can easily be adapted for a singular faith which seeks to use the sacred texts of many traditions as a part of worship.

Multi-faith Worship for Refugees and Immigrants

We remember this day the Sacred Writings of many faith traditions of the call to welcome the stranger by ministering to refugees and immigrants and serving some of the most vulnerable of God's people. We join in solidarity with women and men who call upon the United States government for a fair and compassionate immigration policy, and we urge lawmakers to address the root causes of migration and poverty.

 As we begin … let us be silent together, and compose ourselves in what we’re about to do and why; and in the realization that, as different as we are in creed and expression, in appearance and circumstance, we not only share common purpose today but common origin and destination, having emerged into life from a common Ground, a common Goodness, a common Light.

When aliens settle with you in your land, you shall not oppress them. They shall be treated as native-born among you, and you shall love them as people like yourselves, because you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Our faith traditions affirm that all persons, even those on the margins of society, have basic human rights: the right to life and to those things that are necessary to the proper development of life, including faith and family, work and education, housing and health care....We are saddened that there is not a place at the table for all God's children in every part of our country and especially in the poorest places on earth.

…And those who became refugees for the cause of God after they had been oppressed. We verily shall give them goodly lodging in the world, and surely the reward of the hereafter is greater, if they but knew. (Quran 16:41)

(9) They love those emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful (Al-Hashr, sura 59, verse 9)

As a faith community among many, we recognize an urgent duty and challenge to stand in solidarity with immigrants seeking fullness of life. We say to you immigrants who are in our midst: We welcome you to our land; as a people, we are enriched by your presence. We will use our influence to advocate that services be offered to you and work that there might be full justice and inclusion of all of God’s people.

For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me; naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me; in prison and you came to visit me.... The truth is, every time you did this for the least of my sisters or brothers, you did it for me. (Matthew 25:34-40)

 

May I become at all times, both now and forever,

a protector for those without protection

a guide for those who have lost their way

a ship for those with oceans to cross

a bridge for those with rivers to cross

a sanctuary for those in danger

a lamp for those who need light

a place of refuge for those needing shelter

and a servant to all those in need

(A Prayer by Shantideva, a Buddhist Master)

 

Intercessions

Response:  Hear our prayer.

For an end to the violence and poverty that displaces so many people from their homes and homelands, hear our prayer. *

For migrant workers, that they may labor and live in safe and just conditions, hear our prayer.

For the families and children of migrant workers, that they be reunited, hear our prayer. *

For an end to human trafficking, that the dignity of all God's children will be acknowledged and protected, hear our prayer. *

For our lawmakers, that they establish and enforce laws that protect the rights and dignity of everyone, especially those most vulnerable in our country, hear our prayer. *

For employers and corporations, that they choose the dignity and worth of each human person over profit and power, hear our prayer. *

For our faith communities, that we may continue to serve those without homes and resources, and that we speak out for just immigration reform, hear our prayer. *

Let us be silent, then, and simply relish the fullness-of-being that we share. (silence)

 

We turn toward the One of many names

            that encompasses and exceeds every name!

 

We realize together the Presence that is all-in-all!

 

We relish the miracle of Life, and are blessed to see this wonder

            in each and every one!

 

We are overwhelmed by the depth of the need that compels us today

                        in this expression of solidarity with refugee peoples …

 

   … so we open ourselves to the strength and courage

               necessary for us to do our part

                           for the healing of this fractured world,

                                       for bearing light in the darkness,

                                                for overcoming the indifference,

                                                      the hopelessness, hatred and fear.

 

May the Holiness in which we live and move and have our being

            overcome every separation and difference,

                        making of us but one neighborhood,

                                    one family in one Spirit serving a lavish love

                                                in which each is precious beyond measure

                                                            and meant for peace and joy!

Let it be so, Amen!

 

ALL: We choose to stand with and assist those who are forced to move from their homelands and seek economic and physical survival elsewhere. Our commitment to a merciful way of life demands that we meet, by direct service and systemic change, the needs of those who suffer. We seek to educate others and ourselves to the underlying causes of migration. We will continue to welcome and assist those who seek hope, home and labor in this country. Amen.

Blessing:

Blessed be the longing that brought you here

And quickens your divine inner nature with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
     That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
     To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–
     Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

 

May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

 

May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body

inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.

May you know the urgency with which the Divine longs for you.

 John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us