Tents Not Temples

Jesus the Refugee by Jason Chesnut

An attempt at a prayer/liturgy/meditation in solidarity with refugees…

In the labour camps of Egypt, God liberated his people;

In the dust of the desert, God pitched a tent with his people;

In the palaces of Babylon, God stood firm with his people;

In the ruins of Jerusalem, God wept with his people.

In the ancient scriptures we read of a God who would rather camp with his people than have them build a temple, who took on flesh to share solidarity in their suffering. And so, in the eyes of the refugee and the displaced we see:

The God who lay in a manger for lack of shelter;

The God who walked the streets in the face of oppression;

The God who was arrested on the word of an informer;

The God who bears the scars of conspiracy and lynching.

And because of the miracle of Incarnation, we know that God stands alongside:

Those who endure biting cold as their camps begin to freeze;

Those who trek a merciless desert in the hope of reaching a border;

Those who cling to rafts, as the ocean skies darken;

Those who wait in airports as dispassionate eyes assess their lives.

We join with these stories as their realities echo throughout the ages, as we accept our place alongside those who flee danger and those who seek sanctuary as we acknowledge we are servants of a different world and a different Word.

May we all be aliens and strangers as we build bridges rather than walls;

May we all be aliens and strangers as we extend a hand of friendship rather than violence;

May we all be aliens and strangers as we seek to reflect Christ rather than Empire;

May we all be aliens and strangers as we take on citizenship of a better Kingdom.

Amen.

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