April 1- Day 32 of Lent

OPENING PRAYER: Loss is Indeed our Gain (Walter Brueggemann)

The Pushing and Shoving in the world is endless.
We are pushed and shoved.
And we do our share of pushing and shoving
in our great anxiety.
And in the middle of that
you have set down your beloved suffering son
who was like a sheep led to slaughter
who opened not his mouth.

We seem not able,
so we ask you to create space in our life
where we may ponder his suffering
and your summons for us to suffer with him,
suspecting that suffering is the only way to newness.

So we pray for your church in these Lenten days,
when we are driven to denial —
not to notice the suffering,
not to engage it,
not to acknowledge it.
So be that way of truth among us
that we should not deceive ourselves
That we shall see that loss is indeed our gain.
We give you thanks for that mystery from which we live.

Amen.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: APRIL 1, 2005

“Minutemen” being patrolling the border

On April 1, 2005, a group of citizens, including several well-known white supremacists, established the “Minuteman Project,” which patrolled a stretch of land spanning 23-miles along the Arizona-Mexico border. These private citizens decided to extrajudicially monitor the border for undocumented immigrants, creating what they called a “citizens’ neighborhood watch” on the Mexican border while calling themselves “patriots.” For one month, over 1,2000 volunteers worked to carry out the first border watch, and monitored the 23 mile Arizona-Mexico border by counting the number of migrants approaching, reporting their presences, and scaring them away from crossing. Over half of these volunteers were armed with weapons such as pistols, rifles, and revolvers, and many of them were either veterans or retirees.

These Minutemen also created committees to lobby state representatives in regards to anti-immigration and border security issues. Some of the efforts they supported include the building of a wall, an increase in border patrol agents, military involvement to limit movement across the border, and opposing amnesty for undocumented immigrants. They also worked to raise public awareness about “the threat of immigration” by engaging local media and hosting public debates about immigration.

While the Minuteman Movement continued on between 2004-2009 as a strong force against immigration, it eventually fell apart after a number of prominent members and leaders were arrested on murder and sex abuse charges.  Movement leaders also grew increasingly divided, and radical anti-immigration legislation in states such as Arizona made the work of the Minutemen less relevant.

SCRIPTURAL REFLECTION: Ezekiel 22:3-8

‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You city that brings on herself doom by shedding blood in her midst and defiles herself by making idols, you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come. Therefore I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughingstock to all the countries. Those who are near and those who are far away will mock you, you infamous city, full of turmoil.

“‘See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood. In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the foreigner and mistreated the fatherless and the widow. You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths.”

RESPONSE OF LAMENT AND CONFESSION: Please spend some time in personal response, crying out to God with prayers, poems, songs, or art that expresses your lament and confession. If you feel led, please share these responses with others, using #lentenlament #day32

You may close with the following:

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

CLOSING PRAYER: Prayer for My Brother and Sister Migrants (National Farm Workers Ministry)

Heart of Jesus full of love and mercy, I watch over my sister and brother migrants. Have pity on them and protect them; they suffer mistreatment and humiliations on their way, looked on as dangerous by most, and marginalized for being foreigners. Help us to respect them and appreciate their dignity. Touch with your goodness the hearts of we who see them pass by. Take care of their families until they return home, not with broken hearts but with their hopes fulfilled. May it be so.

Amen. 

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