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Remembering Immigrants & Refugees with Your Church this Advent

On December 10, we hope that churches all over the CRC will use the "immigrants are a blessing" litany in worship. Many churches will be observing Advent during this time -- and perhaps focusing on one of the themes of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. When introducing the litany, here are some words that will help tie it into whichever theme is shaping your advent worship that week.


As we focus on the advent theme of hope, we recognize that there are many in our midst, and in our world, who struggle with hopelessness. We think of immigrants and refugees around the world who are longing for home, who are without a community, who are unsure where God is leading them. We know that we can embody the advent promise of hope when we extend welcome to the stranger. Let's join together in this advent litany of hope.


As we focus on the advent theme of love, we are aware that God intends to show us love, as well as invites us to extend love to those around us. In Scripture, over and over, God asks that we show that love to specific kinds of people -- the orphan, the widow, the poor, and especially relevant for the world we're a part of today: the stranger. The more we reach out in love to those around us, the more we experience the love of God, who sought us when we were strangers. Let's join together in this advent litany of love.


As we focus on the advent theme of joy, we are aware that the joy that Scripture points us toward is not a flimsy, one-dimensional joy that disappears according to our circumstances. It's a joy that is rooted in a deep story -- a story of a God who draws near to suffering, broken, oppressed, and hopeless people. There is a lot of suffering in the world today, and we are called to proclaim a story of joy in the midst of that suffering. We are called to embody a joy that roots itself in a God who is full of surprises, who can make a way out of no way, a God who show up through strangers and outsiders and those we cast aside. Let's join together in this advent litany of joy.


As we focus on the advent theme of peace, we recognize the many places all over the world that lack peace. People are fleeing from violence in Africa, in the Middle East, in Central America, and even in this country. When we claim the promise of peace that comes with the birth of Jesus, we know that we are also claiming our part in embodying that peace. We can participate in the gospel project of peace when we extend a hand of peace to those who have experienced violence and suffering, who have longed to find a peaceful place to call home. Let's join together in this advent litany of peace.


Immigrants Are a Blessing Litany

(A leader, or a group of readers, should read the un­bolded text; the bold is the response of the congregation. You can download the litany as a PDF here or order a free printed copy from Faith Alive's online catalogue.)

Abraham and Sarah did not know whether their visitors meant harm or good, still they opened their tent in welcome, and they were blessed. From the stranger, we hear the good news of God's covenant love.

We praise you for the blessing of the stranger.

Boaz saw in Ruth not a project, but a partner. From the stranger, we are given the lineage of Christ.

We praise you for the blessing of the stranger.

The man lay dying on the Jericho road until the strange and reviled Samaritan came to his aid ­sharing his oil and wine. From the stranger, we receive help and healing.

We praise you for the blessing of the stranger.

When the people of Israel were strangers in Egypt, only as valuable as the bricks they produced for Pharoah's economy, God heard their cry and saved them. When we are strangers, we come to know a God who frees us.

We praise you for the blessing of the stranger.

Christ hides in the face of the stranger, reminding us that "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me." In the stranger, we can experience the presence of Christ.

We praise you for the blessing of the stranger.

We are called in Scripture, again and again, to welcome the stranger and the many blessings that the stranger may bring.

For the immigrant, the refugee, the one we do not know, we give our thanks and praise. The family of God is worshiping you in many languages, and following you in many cultures, all over the world. But the diversity of the family of God has also come right here to this community. May we receive the blessings you bring to us, Lord, through the gift of the stranger.


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