Heavenly Father, 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.
The Diocese of Quincy has a long-standing policy not to comment on politics, as we are not a political organization. However, this Diocese also has a long-standing policy to pray for the world and its leaders, to preach the Gospel, and to care for “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40, 45).
There have been many who have spoken up in the last few weeks with regard to how immigrant children have been separated from their parents at our border. We commend you to read the statements from our Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant brothers and sisters. The sheer weight of the concordance on this matter by Christians across denominational lines disposes us to see this as a moment of Council. As a denomination that is specifically conciliar, we are heartened by the solidarity of the Christian community on this issue.
As a Diocese that is home to immigrants, new and old, Hispanic, Karen, and Anglo, we know just how precious those who are sojourners in this country are. As Christians, we believe that God has spoken unambiguously about how we are to treat those who are immigrants, foreigners, aliens, strangers, or sojourners in our lands. We seek here to join our fellow Christians from across the nation in proclaiming this truth.
Scripture tells us that we are never to wrong or oppress an immigrant (Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33-34). That we are cursed if we deprive the immigrant of justice (Deut. 27:19) and that we are to do no wrong or violence to the immigrant (Jer. 22:3-5). We are reminded that immigrants, along with widows and orphans, have a special place in God’s care and that God often threatens his wrath on those who oppress them (Zech. 7:10; Mal. 3:5). In fact, we are commanded to “love the sojourner” because God loves them too (Deut. 10:17-19), and in all things, as the people of God, we are to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
We are mindful of the fact that as Jesus’ family fled persecution to Egypt, the Holy Family were refugees fleeing murderous tyranny like many who come to us today (Matt. 2:13-18). We are mindful of the fact that the command to love our neighbor as ourselves is repeated in both Testaments of Holy Scripture (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19; 22:29; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; and James 2:8).
We are also mindful that governing authorities have the right to make and execute laws (Rom. 13:1) However, all human authority is subject to divine authority, and it is God who said through the Apostle Paul that all other commandments “are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:9-10). To love God and our neighbors is the greatest commandment and therefore the responsibility of Christian people everywhere.
We recognize that the bond between parents and their children is sacred and that severing that bond without just cause may cause irreparable harm to innocent children.
We call on our Diocesan family to pray for the families who have been separated, especially for the more than two thousand children torn from their parents’ arms and placed into unfamiliar places and situations of potential danger. We ask that you pray that they may be protected from all harm, returned immediately to their families, and that they suffer no long-term effects of this traumatic experience.
May God in His mercy reunite the separated, bind up the brokenhearted, and above all, grant us the power and grace to love our neighbors as ourselves.