“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34 ESV)
It is impossible to turn on the TV this week and not see images of Syrian refugees, or people protesting in front of airports, or politicians holding press conferences. There is no question but that refugees and immigration are the topics of the day, but as we see in the quotation from Leviticus, it is not a new topic.
This past week I was pleased to work with the Anglican Immigration Initiative (a Provincial Task Force that I chair) in helping Archbishop Beach put out a call to prayer for the Province. I’ve reprinted that below and invite you, in your homes and at church, to pray the collects offered by our Archbishop. There is no question that whatever response we have to this crisis, it should begin and end in prayer!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As a province that spans Canada, the United States, and Mexico we face unique challenges on issues affecting refugees and immigration. I am thankful for our congregations that are a part of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative. They have taken the lead in caring for those in our communities who are refugees and immigrants, showing the love of Christ to the most vulnerable.
This week, I encourage you to follow their example, and make a special effort to reach out to refugees and immigrants in your local community. In these divisive times, we have the opportunity to demonstrate a compassion that builds bridges, and overcomes fear.
In our province we also have lawmakers who face a different, but related set of challenging moral issues. As public servants, they are called to carefully discern how best to respond to the global humanitarian need while also maintaining the appropriate role of government in protecting its citizens. There are no easy answers to how our nations should balance these priorities, and our leaders need your prayers.
In light of the Syrian refugee crisis, changes in US immigration policy, and the way those changes will affect us all, I ask you to join me in prayer. Please pray for the poor, the refugee, and all immigrant families whose lives are made more complex, and sometimes more desperate by these events. Please also join me in praying for all those in positions of public trust who seek wisdom in the formation of the laws and policies of our respective governments.
A Collect for Refugees and Immigrants:
from whom every family on earth derives its name,
have mercy on all those who sojourn in this world.
As you sheltered your Son Jesus
who fled from the tyranny of Herod,
so now provide new homes for all those who flee the violence of this age
that they may know the peace of Christ.
Grace your people with hearts of welcome and lives of courage
through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
A Collect for Government Leaders:
O Lord our Governor, whose glory fills all the world: We commend our nations to your merciful care, that we may be guided by your Providence, and dwell secure in your peace. Grant to the Justin, Prime Minister of Canada, Donald, President of the United States, and Enrique, President of Mexico, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve the people in reverent obedience to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Most Reverend Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America