As Christians, an essential part of our story is the birth narrative of Jesus. In that story, the Holy Family was required to travel from their hometown of Nazareth all the way to Bethlehem to be registered, which means to be counted in the government census. When they arrived in Bethlehem they had no place to sleep and were dependent upon the hospitality of strangers to have shelter for the night and a place for the Lord to be born, though only a humble stable. The story continues that it was not safe for them to return home and they were forced to flee to Egypt for two years’ time. The Holy Family were refugees, driven from their land and forced to find a new place to call home.
OUR EPISCOPAL TRADITION OFFERS THIS PRAYER FOR REFUGEES
Holy One of Bethlehem, from your earliest days you knew the threat of death, the terror of flight, and the pain of exile. Today we know that so many – millions upon millions – flee for their own lives and for their children. The numbers seem so vast, the problem so great. It is easy to feel helpless. It is easy to forget. It is easy to ignore. Shake us from complacency and from resignation. Fill our
hearts and minds with understanding and compassion for your children Who are forced
by persecution and fear to flee their homes. Remind us that each number is a name, each
statistic a person – your child, your beloved. Strengthen our resolve; stir in us a spirit of
agency and action. For you have blessed each of us with gifts to be shared in love for all you
have created, gifts that may be used to welcome, to comfort, to befriend. Grant that
we would listen for your call. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
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