God, our heart's true home, Father and Mother of us all:

       We can no longer pretend to be distant from the heartbreak afflicting your children

                who have fled in fear for their lives, the violence and war in their homelands             

             who must turn their backs on home to survive famine, catastrophe or drought.


These our neighbors,

        --stopped at the borders of countries too overwhelmed to welcome

                held in trains, awaiting a word of hope,

                huddled in camps and overcrowded shelters

                with nowhere to turn and no way to turn back--

       these neighbors need the welcome of America,

             where Liberty still stands vigil in New York Harbor,

             still singing  give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

             as she has sung for two centuries, as she sang for our own forebears.

Her torch blazes still, a light that shines in darkness,

        bidding us to walk alongside,

        to be once again a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden.


Jesus, who said, let the children come to me,

We know the truth: all of these children are our sons and daughters;

        and their parents are our brothers and sisters, and we owe them a room in the inn,

        a place of safety, a chance to live and thrive.

We pray in gratitude for the many nations who have already welcomed so many,

                whose resources are strained under the burden of hospitality

                but who are still willing to do more.

We pray for ourselves:

              citizens in a land of plenty who hesitate,

              fearful for our safety, afraid there will not be enough,

                whose time for action is upon us.

May we challenge fear, inspire a better vision, and welcome extravagantly.

We pray that you will help us to do better, to be better.


Spirit of  Light, who descended, resting like fire on the heads of frightened and defeated disciples

        even though we seem to walk in darkness,

        we are called to be light for the world.

Help us, as our country's policies push closed our nation's doors

         to stand with those strangers who need our help

         to let our voices be heard

To make a way where there seems no way.

Help our citizenry, made strong by the gifts of many nations

And unified by our common commitment to liberty and justice for all

To find again our heart and our hope,

And to say with one voice, we choose welcome.  Amen.



--the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus,  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance,

    January 25, 2017, after executive orders were announced to restrict immigration and refugee resettlement, and build a wall to close the US southern border.


A Tradition of Welcome from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.


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