In Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Eph. 2:13  

     When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Lev. 19:33-34

     For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matt. 25:25-36, 40

Heavenly Father, no matter the nation into which we were born, we were in the far away land of sin and death when you rescued us, and brought us into the gracious country of your heart. We were foreigners to your mercies, strangers to your grace, and rebels to your kingdom.

Yet you had great compassion on us, welcomed us, and adopted us into your family—making us a nation of priests, to worship and serve you forever. Hallelujah! We are citizens of heaven and earth, with new-birth certificates and a calling to love others as you love us in Jesus.

Though the issues are complex, the challenges are real, and the risks are many, free us to welcome foreigners, immigrants, and refugees, as you welcome us in the gospel. Increase our faith, enlarge our hearts, and supersize our love.

We, who are Americans, pray for our government officials who have to make difficult decisions in the middle of a fresh and growing refugee crisis. May wisdom trump fear, generous welcome be more obvious than self-protection, and good policies prevail over partisan politics.

Father, may our churches lead the way and day, by caring more for the “least of these” than fearing the “worst of them.” Help us channel our fear and anger into acts of radical mercy and grace. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ loving and welcoming name.