Why I am fasting on Wednesdays this Lent (#Fast4Families)

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Last week, on Ash Wednesday, we heard the prophet Joel call out to us to join him in a fast: “Return to the LORD, your God… with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning… Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”

This Lent, I am responding to Joel’s call and joining with others around the country in a great fast for families: where we are committing to pray and fast every Wednesday in Lent for citizenship and immigration reform.  This fast impels us to “repent from an immigration system that tears apart families” and to be a collective “prophetic witness to the moral urgency of commonsense immigration reform so that all might have the opportunity to be citizens with equal respect and dignity.”

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 10:17-19

Rabbi Brant Rosen, a congregational rabbi in Evanston, IL, puts a face to this “tragically broken immigration system.”  His story is one of too many that leads us to this important fast for families.

And as Jim Wallis explains in his article Ash Wednesday: How Fasting and Prayer Could Change Us – and Our Country: “This is why we fast, pray and act because we are called by our faith, because we hear the cries of community members, and we will continue to mobilize to demonstrate that we will accept neither excuses nor delays. We will continue to pray, fast and act until the bonds of families are no longer broken and citizenship is no longer a dream, but a reality for 11 million aspiring Americans.”

So will you join this fast?  (It’s never too late to start.)

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* To donate to this movement and keep it strong, click here.

* Click here to sign a petition that urges President Obama to cease deportations while Congress is working toward immigration reform.

* Click here for the beautiful “Im/migration Stations of the Cross” created by Grace Commons Church in Chicago.

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2 responses »

  1. Emily, once again your heart is where mine is. I had to leave my position on the steering committee of the Boston New Sanctuary Movement last year becasue of my cancer, but my heart is with the immigrants who are separated from their family members. The last section of my book is about my work as an activist, such as it was, and the last story is about my work on immigration. I included some of that story in a post:
    http://newellhendricks.wordpress.com/?s=speech+to+religious
    which is contains my thinking of why Christians need to confront our economic system and our concept of nationalism in order to really justly treat immigrants like fellow human beings. You energize me. And thank you for continuing to comment on blogs at our synchroblog. That has been so exciting to me, to see the connections being made. There should be a sumary post soon.

    Newell

    • Newell, how am I not surprised by this? I feel you and I are kindred spirits. I, too, am extremely passionate about this. Not only did my own grandfather come from an immigrant family who faced the hardships of being “a foreigner” residing in southern Illinois in the early-mid 1900s, but many of my friends in my hometown (a diverse factory town in Iowa) were immigrants or refugees. My experience growing up really opened my eyes to the injustice and bigotry many of my friends and their families experience, and seeing this shaped my understanding of my call to ministry – particularly with those on the margins. Today, I serve 4 congregations in the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago. This neighborhood is one of the more diverse neighborhoods in the city – mostly due to the number of refugees and immigrants who reside here. And most of the youth, children, and families I work with are immigrants or refugees.

      I agree, that our concept of nationalism in the U.S. (and in the American Church) is detrimental and goes against our biblical call to hospitality and loving our neighbors – particularly the “alien” and the “newcomer,” just as we were “once aliens in a foreign land.”

      I look forward to reading your writings on this topic!

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