Migration Sunday Order of Worship

11.01.19 | Multicultural Ministries, Immigration Rights, Racial Justice | by Erik Alsgaard

    In the United States, immigration is a justice issue. It is an issue of faith. Since 2017, news reports indicate, U.S. immigration authorities have separated more than 5,400 children from their parents. At the southern border, migrants, fleeing risks in their homelands, face months of challenging obstacles. Recently, a team from the Baltimore-Washington Conference traveled to the San Diego-Tijuana border. Their reflections are the foundation for this liturgy for churches to use as they observe Migration Sunday on Dec. 1.

    The liturgy was created by the Revs. Chris Dembeck, Kara Scroggins, and Jen Karsner; and Sharon Milton, Julia Maxwell, Christie Latona, Emma Escobar, and Melissa Lauber.


    Migration Sunday Liturgy

    December 1, 2019

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    Today in worship we observe World Migration Sunday. Every five seconds in our world, a person is displaced -- forced to leave their home in order to escape war... persecution … or natural disaster. It has become a global issue. Over 65 million people are displaced worldwide, departing a home they don’t want to leave, on a journey they don’t want to take. Over 22 million are refugees, fleeing repression, conflict, or climate change. Over half are under 18.  And 10 million are stateless, without access to education, healthcare, employment, or freedom of movement.  Today, we lift these people up to God and pray that God will use us to make a difference.


    Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 146)

    Leader: Praise the Lord, my soul.People: I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to God as long as I live.
    Leader: The Lord watches over the foreigner
    People: and sustains the fatherless and the widow.
    Leader: But the lord frustrates the ways of the wicked.
    People: Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!


    Opening Prayer

    God of all nations, who unites all through Christ Jesus, we come today asking that you would help us to remember and honor all of those who have fled their homes in the hope of safety elsewhere. For the mothers who have thought it better to leave with only what can be worn on their backs; for the fathers who are unable to rest for fear of violence directed at them or their loved ones; and for the children who don’t understand why they need to run in the first place: Lord we come asking for their protection, provision, and passage. Remind us that there is no “us” or “them,” because when one part of the body suffers, all members are affected.  Lead us into deeper awareness of our neighbors at our southern border, and call us to greater action rooted in the sacrificial love of your Son, Jesus Christ, who didn’t just lay down his life for some, but for all out of your great love for us. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.


    Opening Hymn:

    Manos indocumentadas "Undocumented hands"

    Download sheet music 

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    Scripture Reading

    Isaiah 2:1-5: Matthew 25:31-46



    "At the border," A spoken-word piece by Sharon Milton

    Robert Maxwell shares view from his lens at the Tijuana Border


    Hymn of Illumination

    "For Everyone Born" Worship & Song #3149

    For everyone born, a place at the table,
    for everyone born, clean water and bread,
    a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,
    for everyone born, a star overhead,
    and God will delight when we are creators
    of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
    yes, God will delight when we are creators
    of justice, justice and joy!

    For woman and man, a place at the table,
    revising the roles, deciding the share,
    with wisdom and grace, dividing the power,
    for woman and man, a system that’s fair,
    and God will delight when we are creators
    of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
    yes, God will delight when we are creators
    of justice, justice and joy!

    For young and for old, a place at the table,
    a voice to be heard, a part in the song,
    the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled,
    for young and for old, the right to belong,
    and God will delight when we are creators
    of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
    yes, God will delight when we are creators
    of justice, justice and joy!

    For just and unjust, a place at the table,
    abuser, abused, with need to forgive,
    in anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy,
    for just and unjust, a new way to live,
    and God will delight when we are creators
    of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
    yes, God will delight when we are creators
    of justice, justice and joy!

    For everyone born, a place at the table,
    to live without fear, and simply to be,
    to work, to speak out, to witness and worship,
    for everyone born, the right to be free,
    and God will delight when we are creators
    of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
    yes, God will delight when we are creators
    of justice, justice and joy!


    Offertory Prayer (based on Matthew 25)

    Giver of good gifts, we praise you for all that we have, knowing that everything we have comes from you. Use this offering, which we give back to you now, for the good of your people everywhere, and especially those seeking refuge in foreign lands.  May these resources give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, freedom to the imprisoned, and healing for the sick. And may we, on that last day, be counted among your sheep. We humbly ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.






    Prayer of Confession and Commitment

    Creator God, it is easy to read a news story and feel pity. It requires little of us to view a photograph and endure a passing wave of sadness. It costs us nothing to hear of one more instance of injustice. Even if we feel righteous indignation and say a few words of prayer, we are adept at moving on with our lives, unhindered. 

    But it is you, Savior, who said to us, “those who love their life will lose it.” It is you who said to us, “none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

    And so, as we encounter stories and statistics about harm done to those neighbors you told us to love, we confess our reluctance to risk anything on their behalf. We confess that we tend to care about issues in ways that don’t cost us anything. Please, gracious God, forgive us, and renew your call on our lives to be disciples willing to give up what we have; willing to give up feeling like the hero; willing to give up the rose-colored glasses with which we view ourselves and those who are “like us.” We pray for the courage to learn about how we are complicit in the injustice we read about. We pray for the humility to listen before we speak. Remind us to check the underlying assumptions behind our words and actions. Enable us to sit, however uncomfortably, with the reality and impact of our own racism and privilege, and the pain we have caused.  

    And then, Spirit of Truth, grant us the grace to put ourselves and our reputations on the line, again and again. Empower us to use our voices to make room for other voices. Hold us accountable, powerful God, until we break down the last of the walls and partner with our siblings on the other side of them. Rather than objects of our pity or recipients of our goodwill, they are your capable and called servants. May we serve humbly alongside them, never assuming that we have or know what they need. 

    Keep us hungry, we pray, until the day when we sit beside those who were once “them,” at a shared table, a shared feast, with room enough for all. Keep us unsatisfied until there is no “they”; there is truly only “we.”

    We ask this in the name of Jesus, the persecuted refugee; your beloved child who stopped at nothing to change our hardened hearts. Amen


    A Communion Litany

    Leader: In Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, California, a bi-national Communion is served every Sunday – through tiny holes in the concrete wall that separate the two nations. 

    People: Into a world rent asunder by walls and policies, hardened hearts and paralyzing fears, the bread and cup are lifted up: “The body of Christ broken for you. The blood of the new covenant poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” “Este es el cuerpo de Cristo y esta es su sangre.” 

    Leader: In the breaking of the bread, broken hearts are healed and Christ promises to make us whole.

    People: We humans are good at dividing, deciding who is in and who is out. Where you were born, how you got here, the color of your skin, and who you love become the basis for whether or not you have a seat at the table, whether or not you are deemed good enough.

    Leader: As we pray to be one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to the world, our subversive humble God is setting another place at the table, and another, and another. All the while whispering, “You are my beloved.”

    People: Beloved are you who have never known a day of safety. Beloved are you who grew up in gated communities.

    Leader: Beloved are you who have been raped, smuggled, bought and sold as if it’s possible to own a human being. Beloved are you who feed the stranger and welcome the foreigner.

    People: Beloved are you who left behind everything you own. Beloved are you who own more things than fit in your house.

    Leader: Beloved are you who moved here with or without the proper paperwork. Beloved are you who were born here.

    People: Beloved are you. Be loved. May you be loved so that you may be love.


    The Great Thanksgiving

    On the night in which Jesus gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: "Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
    Do this in remembrance of me."

    When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said: "Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

    And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

    Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

    Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.

    By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet.

    Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. 



    The Prayer of St. Francis

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy;

    O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood as to understand;
    to be loved as to love.

    For it is in giving that we receive;
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen


    Closing Hymn

    "O God of Every Nation," Hymnal #435

    O God of every nation,
    of every race and land,
    redeem your whole creation
    with your almighty hand;
    where hate and fear divide us,
    and bitter threats are hurled,
    in love and mercy guide us,
    and heal our strife-torn world.

    From search for wealth and power
    and scorn of truth and right,
    from trust in bombs that shower
    destruction through the night,
    from pride of race and nation
    and blindness to your way,
    deliver every nation,
    eternal God, we pray.

    Lord, strengthen all who labor
    that all may find release
    from fear of rattling saber,
    from dread of war’s increase;
    when hope and courage falter,
    Lord, let your voice be heard;
    with faith that none can alter,
    your servants undergird.

    Keep bright in us the vision
    of days when war shall cease,
    when hatred and division
    give way to love and peace,
    till dawns the morning glorious
    when truth and justice reign,
    and Christ shall rule victorious
    o’er all the world’s domain.

     Other suggested Hymns

    “For the Healing of the Nations” Hymnal #428

    “Cuando El Pobre” Hymnal # 434

    “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Chile” Songs of Zion #83

    “An Outcast Among Outcasts” TFWS #2104