I was asked to speak at an interfaith prayer service on July 26th. A court order demanded that all 2551 children separated from their parents at the border be reunited with them by that date. It did not happen. At 6:00 PM on July 26th, the prayers were led by seven different speakers. The speakers were Jews, Muslims, and Christians. This was my prayer:
FOR THE CHILDREN
Teresa of Avila, a Christian mystic, prayed, “Hover over me, O God.
Tonight we pray the same: Hover over us, O God.
Hover, O God, over the 45 children under five years old who do not know where their parents are.
Hover, O God, over approximately 1,000 children between the ages of 5-17 who still do not know where their parents are.
Hover, O God, over the parents as they, without the English language or the ability to read and write, have been coerced into signing away their children.
Hover, O God, over those traumatized little children of two and three who do not recognize their parents when reunited with them.
Hover, O God, over the approximately 463 parents, who have been deported and do not have access to legal services that would help them to locate their children in this country.
Hover, O God, over the 12 little children under five years old whose parents have been deported.
Hover, O God, over the children who will need therapy for their trauma of abandonment, need to be clothed and fed, and need to be educated as they are raised by U.S. social services.
Hover, O God, over the parents and children who are reunited in the dark of the night in unfamiliar locations and given ankle bracelets but no help or legal guidance.
Hover, O God, over our legislators so that they recognize that the long-term solution to this immigration problem is an economic one for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and seek to address that root problem.
Hover, O God, over our Justice Department so that it updates the antiquated criteria for humanitarian admission to our country and the antiquated definition of a refugee.
Hover, O God, over us whose hearts are breaking for these children and are here tonight to join with others in finding ways to tear down the walls of prejudice and indifference and to live out America’s promise of being the City on the Hill, the place of compassionate refuge.