Mark 12:31: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Leviticus 19:34: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
Numbers 15:15: One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 10:19: “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
On Saturday, the Washington National Cathedral hosted the National Prayer Service for the President, Vice-President, their families, and those who will be taking on the grave responsibility nominated to cabinet posts. Religious leaders from many traditions joined their voices in prayer and song, and while we shared our most sacred scriptures, we prayed for wisdom for all those who serve our nation. I affirm those prayers, and ask that our leaders listen to the powerful call to serve those who are most vulnerable in continuing to welcome refugees from around the world.
As Christians, we are asked to pray: for our leaders, for our loved ones, for our enemies, and for those who are suffering. Our work does not end with prayer: we also offer assistance to those who are fleeing persecution. We find homes for those who have been forced out of their homes. We feed those who are hungry. The refugees who enter the United States do so after experiencing violence and persecution undeserved of any human being, and they come to the U.S. with hopes to build new lives.
Refugee resettlement is a form of ministry, and one that we, and many other churches and faith-based organizations, cherish. The work of Episcopal Migration Ministries is God’s work, and we show the face of God through the care and compassion in that work. I ask President Trump to continue the powerful work of our refugee resettlement program without interruption, recognizing the long wait and screening process that means refugees wait months and sometimes years to enter the country. We ask that we continue to accept as many refugees as we have in the past, recognizing the need is greater than ever. We ask that refugees from all countries receive consideration to come to the U.S. and not to ban those who come from countries most in need of our assistance.
Our Book of Common Prayer asks for God to “look with compassion on the whole human family;” to “break down the walls that separate us and unite us in bonds of love.” On Saturday, we prayed for God our Father to look with compassion upon the widowed and orphans, outcasts and refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger. We pray to love one another as God loves us. I echo that prayer now, and ask that we may work together to build a more grace and compassion-filled world.