a prayer for immigrants and refugees

Here are words and a prayer I almost got to speak on behalf of Madison Christian Community and Dane Sanctuary Coalition for the Stop AB 190! No Hate in Our State! Voces de la Frontera rally at the state capitol on June 28 for immigrants and against harmful pending legislation:

My name is Nick Utphall, a pastor of Advent Lutheran of Madison Christian Community.
At the start of this month, my congregation voted to become a sanctuary congregation. We did this after hearing an urgent request from our neighbors in the community and we wanted to respond to the needs voiced by these sisters and brothers.
Those are important sets of terms in my tradition – sisters and brothers because we are all equally children of God’s family, and neighbors because Jesus says that to follow him is to love those in need.
This task for our congregations and religious community has become all the more vital in the face of a society and a government that seems entrenched in immorality and unjust attitudes that are claiming privilege for some at the expense of others and that are bent on making already hard situations worse.
Against those injustices and anti-Christian behaviors, our congregation–with the Dane Sanctuary Coalition–is ready to be a neighbor amid God’s beloved family, including laboring for peace through justice, offering sanctuary, and opening our ears, our doors, and our hearts.

In that spirit, and for all that we have heard, for the efforts of this day, for our ongoing striving for what is right, Let us pray:
O Lord, the refrain of Scripture is “Do not be afraid,” so encourage us and strengthen us to stand up to those who would threaten and intimidate.
Amplify our voices to resonate through these halls and across the land.
Send your Spirit to renew and inspire us to be filled with your joy and peace.
Build us up so that we may be the presence of sanctuary, of security, of community to those who are desperate.
And as people of firm hope, hold onto us so that we may embrace each other with your love.
In that spirit, we trust ourselves and pray: Amen.
With your power, we shout: Amen!
United together, estamos unidos, we join in saying: Amen

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