Ashamed and Protesting, a sinner’s prayer

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A Honduran asylum seeker removes 2-year-old daughter’s shoelaces as required by border officials, before being detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
John Moore/Getty Images

To the God of Lamentations, Psalms, and Job,

I pray for full blame to be placed squarely on the shoulders of us,

a country stuck in a Pharaoh complex and Exodus.

I pray that the women with engorged breasts,

the numbered children sleeping under a mural of Donald Trump,

and the teens on the floors of a tented prison in the desert,

would not once confuse You with us, Divine with a nation carved by taking.

I pray that their theology, whose wingspan surely exceeds our own by miles,

would allow for You, God as mother and father, as cellmate and advocate,

to lend them comfort in their crying, validation in their trauma.

To the God we have claimed as our own, in whose name we build idols and smash Image,

but Who is actually Mystery, Everyone’s and No one’s the same,

vulnerable to evil, alongside the victim,

my shame is deep and my power is limited.

I pray for vindication, homes, family, and life for those who risked their lives for this.

I pray for us, the worshipping perpetrators, that we would be broken by lament, and see You as if for the first time.

 

*see below for helpful reflections about Lamentations, and additional actions we can all take to oppose the evil.

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A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.
John Moore/Getty Images

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A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by US Border Patrol agents near Mission, Texas. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Timely quotes from Lamentations and the Tears of the World, by Kathleen M. O’Connor

“The speakers’ expressions [in Lamentations] of their experiences of pain, trauma, and loss offer a vigorous, critical and ‘deconstructive’ theology. The speakers’ present experience of tragedy and pain makes what they knew about God crumble and disintegrate. The wonder of this biblical book is its daring, momentous iconoclasm and is one reason we need the speakers’ words about God’s character. They show us how to do theology honestly, to take life’s ingredients and to hold fast to the concrete realities of communal life. Every generation of believers and each local gathering of believers must engage in this task, or else they will make of the Living One an idol, a portrait of themselves, or a mere artifact of history. To deny these truthful voices equal weight with other biblical testimony is potentially to cut off our being, to deny dignity to the human sufferers, and to abort changes for healing

“Maybe God’s silence veils God’s innocence rather than reveals divine calculated destructiveness. I want it to be so. I may thereby be suspect as an interpreter of God in this book…”

The voices are not only victims; they are protestors, emboldened, resistance. Their voices are textured with the authority of experience. “The result is a vast rupture in their relationships with God, yet they hold to God, and in that holding they clear space for new ways to meet God.” 

 

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Rosaries are taken as potentially lethal, non-essential personal property at CPB and disposed of at intake; these are collected and photographed by a former janitor.

What you can do:

Call your Senators: https://www.aclu.org/issues/call-senators-stop-dhs-separating-children.

Follow #familiesbelongtogether for action steps, rallies/events, and updates on the act.

Contribute to ACLU or the Together Rising non-profit which is actively researching,  funding interventions to represent and reunite families and reporting impact.

Denounce publicly, as a person and as a community or organization, the deterrent policy that criminalizes and traumatizes asylum seekers and immigrants.

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