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Poet shares psalm about sanctuary

immigrant man and son seek sanctuary in Catholic Church in McAllen TX

Jack Amick considers what it might be like to live inside the four walls of a church in search of safety and hope as Texas bishops call for a solution at the border. 

News reports coming from the U.S.-Mexico border provide shocking stories and images of inhumane living conditions. According to the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, forced displacement is “a crisis of global proportions and immense moral and ethical implications.”

People of faith are advocating for justice and acting with compassionate care. 

Some are raising awareness. The Rev. Jack Amick, a clergyman from The Michigan Conference, serves as the Director of Global Migration for the General Board of Global Ministries. He has written this poem from the viewpoint of a person seeking sanctuary (refuge and protection) in a church. 

Psalm of a Sanctuary Sleeper

God of Refuge,
You are my hiding place.
When I have nowhere to call home,
pews become my furniture,
church bells, my alarm clock,
and potluck, my manna.
Old and elaborate,
young and modern,
or plain and practical,
your home is a sacred space,
A thin but sturdy tent of grace
I zip myself into as a veil of protection
from the mosquitos of malevolence
and cold carriers of xenophobia.
Stir up within me forgiveness, for they know not what they do.
Drive away all fear and place within me a new heart.
Oh, Lord, you hem me in with your constant love.
Under a quilt sewn by church ladies,
I rest in peace,
Under the roof raised together
by men long ago,
before they had forgotten that their fathers,
and their grandfathers,
were also pioneers and strangers in a strange land.
Behind these four walls and before your altar,
Constrain me with your love,
fill me with faith,
keep me safe,
heal my heart with hope,
and grant me peace. Amen.

Others are calling for prayer and encouraging political action. Thirteen active and retired United Methodist bishops with close ties to Texas have signed a letter calling for non-partisan solutions to the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. They are asking for an end to policies that separate families, as well as “compassionate care for the health and welfare of children.” These church leaders also appeal for improved treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.  READ MORE.

There are ways for every person  to take action surrounding the border crisis. The United Methodist Boards of Church and Society and Global Ministries offer resources and actions that share hospitality and God’s love to the immigrants in our midst. Click here for more. The Michigan Conference Board of Justice also provides suggestions for faithful response.

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