Tonight, people are gathering in communities all across our world for “Lights of Liberty.” Perhaps the one thing giving me any hope in recent weeks has been witnessing the Spirit of God alive and at work through active people – people who will not tolerate this kind of treatment of migrants and refugees. Children of God who are our neighbors. Our collective family in life.
Alongside the Lights of Liberty gatherings, I wanted to offer an option. Going to one of these collective events is not doable for everyone tonight, including my family. Yet we can all – no matter where we are – give powerful, whole-hearted witness and join the communion of saints. I know it is not the same as being together in person, but we believe and know there is more that binds us than physical presence.
Most gatherings will be around 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. tonight (relatively, depending on time zone). Join in this communal light by creating some in your own home, or wherever you may be.
Light a candle.
Breathe and bless. Focus your mind and your heart’s attention on the world’s children detained in places lacking dignity, compassion, and basic needs.
Here is a prayer I wrote some time ago called, “When I cry for the world,” and it is what my family will read tonight.
When I cry for the world
I cry for our world.
I cry over broken bodies
and broken homes
and broken hearts.
I cry over violence
I cry most of all over the children!
Through my body and breath,
I pray for your kin-dom…
For allto have
nourishing food and nurturing homes,
edifying work and safe, skilled schools,
compassionate healthcare and dignified wages,
soft beds to fall into at the day’s close…
For the children to be protected,
the elderly honored,
and both hugged every single day…
For reparative justice,
and peaceful purity in what’s
breathed, eaten, drunk.
I cry and I pray,
confessing the many times
I’ve declared what I deserve
rather than asked what I could give.
I cry and I pray,
knowing I’m complicit in the pain
and essential to the healing.
I cry and I pray,
trusting my tears mingle with your own,
hoping this tearful river softens and shapes
the hardest canyons of injustice –
or at least lays the groundwork.
I pray and I act,
moving my body and resources
toward your kin-dom vision,
trusting my skills and gifts
carry forward the new, just world you imagine
and are always bringing.
I remember this work is mine to do.
“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which
he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which
he blesses all the world…”*
O Jesus, have mercy
and help me.
You may choose to take a picture of your candle and text to other friends and family, or share on social media with #lightsforliberty (an instance when I actually think social media can do some great good!).
My husband recently wrote a letter about the border crisis that will be going out to our congregation with some places to give, ways to learn, and advocacy opportunities. Near the end of his letter, he says, “our first and last job as followers of Jesus is to pray. There is power in prayer, in listening to God, in interceding for those who are suffering. And yet we must remember “thoughts and prayers” are not something we just blithely tweet after a crisis. Authentic prayer always changes us and impels us to action. As 1 John says, we are called to love not just “in word or speech, but in truth and action.” We encourage you to pray for the migrant families, for the political leaders and government agents on both sides of the border, for non-profit and religious leaders. We invite you to find ways to talk to your children about this crisis and include their voices in your prayers.”
I believe with every fiber of my being in prayer’s power. And I deeply thank you for holding hands in the circle tonight. As Glennon Doyle so often says, “we belong to each other.”
O Lord, hear our prayer.
*Quote in my prayer is widely attributed to St. Teresa of Avila (1515–82), but not found in any of her writings according to numerous sources, so maybe written by someone else. Still, it’s beautiful.