An Alien’s Prayer – by Ed Hays (adapted)
I wear the mark of your disapproval and your often unspoken words pierce straight to my soul. “Why didn’t you stay where you belong?” I feel the icy stare that says, “Keep your distance, you foreigner, with your different colored skin and your strange sounding speech, with your culture, food, religion, and clothing that are inferior to my own.”
I’m an immigrant, a wetback, an alien, an outsider operating a sweatshop sewing machine; cheap labor, unwanted or dirty jobs are mine for the taking; I’m one of the countless invisible ones who puts fresh vegetables on your plate or stitches the fashion dresses and shirts you buy in your stylish stores.
As Moses of old once said, “Remember, you were once aliends in the land of Egypt.” Remember also that your grandfathers and grandmothers were immigrant unwanteds, were exploited cheap labor, second-class citizens, uneducated and poor, used and abused, ignored or looked down upon for their foreign religion, speech, food.
The White House, first house of this great land, says it well. White is this land of promise; no room for other colors or creeds. Someday, we’ll paint the first house in rainbow colors – someday, not long from now.
All: Loving God, help us to remember that when we speak of immigrants and refugees, we speak of our own ancestors and we speak of Christ. In the One who had no place to lay his head, and in the least of his brothers and sisters, you come to us again, a stranger seeking refuge. Help us to reach out with a welcoming hand and heart. Amen.
Reading – Mt. 25
For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me. I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of my people, you did it to me.
Prayers of the Faithful – from Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Response: Lord, grant justice for immigrants
For an end to the violence and poverty that displaces so many people from their homes and homelands, we pray to the Lord.
For migrant workers, that they may labor and live in safe and just conditions, we pray to the Lord.
For an end to human trafficking, that the dignity of all God’s children will be acknowledged and protected, we pray to the Lord.
For our law-makers, that they establish and enforce laws that protect the rights and dignity of everyone, especially those most vulnerable in our country, we pray to the Lord.
For employers and corporations, that they choose the dignity and worth of human persons over profit and power, we pray to the Lord.
For all of us, that we may continue to serve the cause of justice in our world, and that we might continue to speak out for just immigration reform, we pray to the Lord.
All: God of us all, we choose to stand with and assist those who are forced to move from their homelands to seek economic and physical survival elsewhere. We seek to educate ourselves and others to the underlying causes of migration. We will continue to welcome and assist those who seek hope, home and labor in this country. Help us move the hearts of our leaders to seek and enact comprehensive immigration reform soon. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen