From Bishop Herman Yoos

We have all been deeply troubled by the recent pictures of children and their parents being separated at the border and being kept in separate detention centers for processing that can take up to 60 days. At our staff meeting today we prayed for our President and all our elected members to bring an immediate end to this practice while addressing the long term needs for reform around our immigration laws. We also prayed for these children immediately to be reunited with their parents and for God’s comforting presence to sustain them and their parents as well.

In Mark 10 Jesus said “let the little children come to me; do not hinder them; for it is to such as these the kingdom of God belongs.” In the New Testament it is clear that Jesus didn’t support the zealots in their desire to overthrow Rome nor did He support the temple authorities and the Herodians in their appeasement of Rome. No, Jesus always supported and cared for children for the “little ones” who have no voice and no power to enact laws or make changes. Jesus blessed the children and saw in them the future reign of God.

With this in mind, I encourage all of us to pray for the children and for their parents as well as for our President and all our lawmakers. I also encourage us to call and/or write our congressional leaders urging them to reunite families and to work for just immigration legislation. Jesus gives us the moral and spiritual obligation to lift up and care for the most vulnerable in our community. In Matthew 25 he said “whatever you have done to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me.”

It is my prayer that we will find the courage and compassion to come together as churches of this nation to work together across all the political differences in our system for the blessing and benefit of children.

Here is a prayer from Luther that can be helpful to us in having these significant conversations:

“Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us. Amen”

Peace,
The Rev. Herman R. Yoos, III
Bishop
South Carolina Synod, ELCA

Here are some resources and ways that we as ELCA Lutherans are responding to the crisis at our borders.

ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders issue statement on family separation

Explaining Policies separating children and families

Moms seeking asylum wait to reunite with kids

How can you continue to walk alongside these migrants through the ELCA?
Become a welcoming congregation and/or join the AMMPARO network. Reach out to Mary Campbell at Mary.Campbell@elca.org.

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