Let Your Light Shine…
“Amigos, por favor tengan cuidado, ICE está casando inmigrantes” were the words used by a local community organizer to warn immigrant families via social media of the danger that they were in on the morning of February 7th, 2019. His words translate to “friends, please be careful, ICE is hunting immigrants.” These words illustrate the terror to which thousands of families were subjected to between February 5th and February 9th of this year. In a period of just five days, nearly 300 immigrants were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents throughout North Carolina. The majority of these arrests took place while immigrants were going about their daily routine. Friends, fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers, valuable members of our communities were arrested while they were preparing their cars to leave their homes early in the morning, while they were commuting to work, while they were driving their children to school, while they were at their places of work, while they were returning from a hard day’s work, as well as while they were bringing groceries home. These arrests separated numerous families throughout the state. These arrests led to the uncertainty and the anxiety of mothers and fathers, and they led to the tears and trauma of daughters and sons. These arrests led to the deportation of many. These arrests led to the sowing of terror in our communities.
We know that we live in a dark chapter in the story of this nation when members of our communities are afraid of going about their regular day-to-day activities. We know that we live in a dark chapter in the story of this nation when members of our communities are afraid to go grocery shopping to feed their children, or are afraid to step outside of their doors to go to work or to take their children to school. We know that we live in a dark chapter in the story of this nation when we hear government officials calling the coordinated arrests of nearly 300 immigrants in a period of five days ‘the new normal.’ We know that we live in a dark chapter in the story of this nation when this new normality separates families and terrorizes children. We know that we live in a dark chapter in the life of this nation when people of conscience and when people of faith chose to remain silent and remain idle while their immigrant neighbors, friends, and community members are terrorized.
This nation’s story has seen dark chapters before. This nation’s story is stained by the dark chapters of genocide, slavery, concentration camps, segregation, racism, as well as other manifestations of evil. We also know that the darkness cannot overcome the light. It has been during the darkest of chapters in this nation’s story when light has shone the brightest. These current dark times have seen light beginning to pierce through. We have seen how people of conscience and people of faith, community members, community organizers and organizations, as well as communities of faith have decided to raise their voices, to stand up, and to act against the terrorizing of immigrant families. As you and I continue to thread our Lenten journey of reflection, repentance, fasting, preparation, and service through the wilderness, let us pray for the Spirit to challenge and empower us daily. Let us pray for the Spirit to allow the words of Jesus to come to life within in us so that the darkness around us will be dissipated. The One who walks with us, and who walks on ahead of us making a way in the wilderness, says to you and me today: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
Prayer Focus: Families who live in fear of separation through the unjust enforcement of immigration laws.
Thought for the Day: The light of Jesus Christ within me has the power to overcome the darkness of this world.
Let Us Pray: Our Father in heaven, You sent your Son Jesus to bring light into the darkness of our world. Our world’s darkness cannot overcome His light. We are humbled to know that You have entrusted us with that light, the true light of humanity. Allow your light, in the power of your Holy Spirit, to shine brightly within us and through us. Allow your light to pierce through the darkness of our time, as it has done so many times before. We pray for this to become our reality, we do so while holding our immigrant sisters and brothers in our hearts. We do so praying with and praying on behalf of the thousands of families that live in fear of immigration-related arrests and potential deportations. We specially intercede on behalf of families that have already been separated through the violence of deportation. We pray for your light to shine. We pray for darkness to dissipate. We pray in the name of the One who journeys with us through this Lenten wilderness. We pray in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.